By Jeff Lehr
JOPLIN, Mo. —
A federal grand jury has charged a hazardous materials handling company and two of its employees with dumping gasoline-contaminated water into Duenweg’s sewer system.
A two count indictment was handed up this past week in U.S. District Court in Springfield against Seneca Companies Inc., of Des Moines, Iowa, and employees Robert Morrison, 31, and Greg Gill, 50.
The indictment charges the defendants with unlawful disposal of a hazardous substance and knowing introduction of a hazardous substance into a sewer system.
The first count carries up to five years in prison and the second count up to three years, with convictions on either count subject to fines from $5,000 to $50,000.
The violations of federal laws governing water pollution and solid waste disposal allegedly took place in December 2010 while Seneca Companies was repairing a gasoline line failure for Casey’s General Store at 8084 E. Seventh St. in Duenweg.
The line failure had resulted in gasoline accumulating in a containment sump on Casey’s property, according to the indictment. The document does not state how much gasoline was involved.
Morrison, a maintenance technician, and Gill, a maintenance technician supervisor, were responsible for repairing the line failure and disposing of any hazardous material in conformity with state and federal regulations, the indictment states.
On Dec. 16, 2010, they knowingly disposed of the gasoline-contaminated water in the containment sump by pumping it into the city’s sewer system, according to the indictment. They also allegedly did so without a permit for disposal of hazardous substances.
Commercial-sale gasoline is deemed a hazardous substance under federal laws because of its flammability and the toxicity of the ingredient benzene.