Ronald A. Korman, owner of Barrel and Drum Service Inc., in Cincinnati, Ohio, was sentenced to one day in jail and four months of home confinement on Nov. 21 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio in Cincinnati for violating the Clean Water Act.
The defendant also has paid more than $125,000 to clean up the premises of Barrel and Drum and has shut down the business.
Barrel and Drum was a metal and plastic drum cleaning and reconditioning business. In his plea, Korman admitted that, beginning in 1995, his company regularly dumped untreated caustic wastewater from drum cleaning activities into the Cincinnati public sewer system without a permit.
In February 2001, Cincinnati Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) employees detected high pH levels in the sewer system and traced the pollution back to the Barrel and Drum facility. These levels were as high as pH 13 during the hours that Barrel and Drum was in operation.
Discharging highly caustic wastewater into sewers can damage sewage treatment equipment and kill bacteria necessary for the proper treatment of sewage in treatment plants.
The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the MSD, the Ohio Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification, the Cincinnati Fire Department, and the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office.
It was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's office in Cincinnati.