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American Biodiesel fined for violating Clean Water Act in US

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The US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California has fined American Biodiesel for violations of the Clean Water Act at the company’s site in the Port of Stockton.

On 8 July, US District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller sentenced the producer to probation after American Biodiesel, also known as Community Fuels, admitted to allowing the discharge of industrial wastewater into the City of Stockton sewer system.

This discharge was found to be in violation of Stockton permitting regulations, as well as the federal Clean Water Act.

The company also admitted to tampering with monitoring devices and methods used to detect such violations, with employees altering pH recordings and flowmeters in order to under-report acid and pollutant levels and volumes.

In sentencing the biodiesel producer, Mueller imposed a three-year probation period, which includes a number of reporting and monitoring conditions.

The company was also fined $401,000 (€355,437) and will be required to pay an additional $256,206 (€227,095) in restitution to the Port of Stockton and the City of Stockton.

Additionally, Mueller ordered American Biodiesel to develop and implement an effective compliance and ethics programme, which it must submit to the court for review.

In the case against the company, Christopher Young, direction of operations at the Stockton plant, was also charged with conspiracy, 12 counts of tampering with monitoring equipment, two counts of unlawful discharge of industrial wastewater, one count of false statements, and one count of witness tampering.

The same indictment charges his brother, Jeremiah Young, who was assistant operator for Community Fuels between 2014 and 2016, with conspiracy, eight counts of tampering with monitoring equipment, and two counts of unlawful discharge of industrial wastewater

The cases against Christopher and Jeremiah Young remain pending before the court, with the charges remaining as allegations.

The investigation and charges against American Biodiesel and its employees were brought by the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigation Division, San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office, City of Stockton Municipal Utilities Department, San Joaquin County Environmental Health Department, Port of Stockton, and California Department of Toxic Substances Control.