AMERICAN FORK — The owner of an American Fork bio-diesel fuel plant faces federal charges for allegedly discharging pollutants into a business park sewer system.

A federal grand jury indicted Slade E. Barnett Jr., 48, of Camano Island, Wash., with introducing a pollutant into a sewer system knowing it would cause property damage and making a false statement in a document.

Barnett was the principal agent for Denali Industries, which manufactured bio-diesel fuel using grease, tallow, vegetable oil, methanol and sulfuric acid, among other things.

Denali allegedly discharged those substances into the Lakeside Planned Industrial Park's privately-owned sewer system from December 2007 to June 2008. On at least two occasions, the indictment alleges, a grease-oil based effluent knocked out the lift station pumps in the system. In June 2008, a grease-based substance clogged about 300 feet of sewer pipe, which required excavation and replacement.

The private system connects into the publicly owned Timpanogos Special Service District. Under conditions of a Utah Department of Environmental Quality permit, the district was required to provide compliance reports to the DEQ and the EPA on industrial users.

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During an investigation into the source of the discharges into Lakeside’s sewer system, the district required Barnett to complete a survey listing the substances Denali was using. The indictment alleges that he made a false statement on the survey to elude regulation of the discharges.

A summons was issued to Barnett for an initial appearance in U.S. District Court last Thursday. He did not appear at the hearing and a warrant was issued for his arrest.   

The penalty for introducing a pollutant into a sewer system is up to three years in prison. The false statement count carries a penalty of up to five years in prison. Both counts have potential fines of $250,000.

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