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.

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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