The indictment of Griffin Industries Inc., which operates a rendering plant in East Dublin, Ga., and five present or former employees, Thomas A. Griffin, Ricky A. Elrod, Douglas J. Spritzky, Gregory E. Oxley and Steven K. Horne, was announced on Oct. 20.
They were charged with conspiring to violate the Clean Water Act (CWA) and on five counts of illegally discharging pollutants in violation of the CWA. The indictment alleges that between September 1999 and July 2003, the defendants engaged in a conspiracy to operate Griffin Industries' rendering plant in a manner that caused pollutants to be discharged into Bay Branch Creek which empties into the Oconee River.
Discharging rendering plant pollutants into surface waters can be harmful to fish, aquatic life and wildlife and can also make those waters unsuitable for recreational and drinking water purposes. If convicted on all counts, Griffin Industries faces a maximum fine of up to $500,000 on each count. The individual defendants each face a maximum penalty under the conspiracy count of up to five years in prison, a maximum penalty of up to three years in prison on each count of illegal discharge, and/or a fine of up to $250,000 on each count, if convicted.
The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division (Atlanta) and the Georgia Environmental Protection Agency. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Savannah.