An assistant U.S. attorney has filed two federal misdemeanor criminal counts against the Central Valley Water Reclamation Facility's board, based at 2589 S. Main in South Salt Lake, charging environmental violations.
First Assistant U.S. Attorney Stewart C. Walz charged that in January 1986, the board made "false statements, representations and certifications" concerning a document required to be filed and maintained by federal law.The board certified on a discharge-monitoring report that "grab samples" for water acidity were taken seven days a week at the Granger-Hunter Wastewater Treatment Plant, when actually "composite samples were taken five days per week," the charge says.
The second allegation is that in April 1986, the board "failed to certify on a discharge-monitoring report that the Cottonwood Wastewater Treatment Plant had an unauthorized bypass of wastewater."
The charges resulted from a referral by the Environmental Protection Agency, according to a court document.
The two plants involved are being decommissioned, said Rodney Dahl, Central Valley's manager. At the first of this year, all of the plants' flows were shifted over to the new regional plant that was built on the former Vitro Chemical site in South Salt Lake.
Dahl said Central Valley's board has been negotiating with the federal government for a few months regarding the reporting of five days' worth of data that was reported as seven days' worth. He was surprised that criminal charges had been filed so soon.
"It's just a technical error," he said. "You can't say that it didn't happen, because it did."
Regarding the charge concerning a bypass of wastewater into Little Cottonwood Creek, Dahl said that happened "when there was massive flooding and we inadvertently did not report a bypass at the Cottonwood Plant."
He did not believe the bypass was a serious problem.
"We are just going to go to court and very likely we'll plead (guilty) on the doggone thing and see what the judge is going to do to us," he said.
Since these are misdemeanor charges and no individual is named, a guilty verdict likely would bring only a fine, he said.