On Sept. 5, 2017, Adam D. Boylen was sentenced to more than three years in prison and ordered to pay $85,338 in restitution after pleading guilty to four counts of violating the Clean Water Act for unpermitted discharges of wastewater into tributaries of the Tuscarawas River. Boylen was a driver for an Ohio-based trucking company and was responsible for loading wastewater generated by corporate facilities into a tanker truck and delivering the tanker truck to a Pennsylvania facility for proper disposal. The wastewater transported by Boylen contained surfactants capable of killing vegetation and fish. According to court documents, on several occasions in April and May of 2016, Boylen drove the tanker truck to remote locations in Tuscarawas County and central-eastern Ohio and illegally dumped the wastewater into local tributaries of the Tuscarawas River. In one instance, the dumped wastewater caused white foam to travel four miles downstream from the location where the tanker truck was emptied. Alleged damage to the environment included: (i) dead and distressed vegetation; (ii) over 700 dead fish; and (iii) over 3,000 dead minnows, crayfish, frogs and tadpoles.

The case was investigated by numerous state and federal agencies, including the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Stark County Sheriff’s Offices, Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s Offices, Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

Boylen’s sentence underscores the significant criminal liability that can attach to Clean Water Act violations (both for negligent and knowing violations). The Clean Water Act makes it a crime (punishable by up to six years in prison and fines of up to $100,000 per day) for knowingly discharging a pollutant into regulated waters of the United States without a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) permit or in violation of a valid NPDES permit.