United States Attorney's Office District of
June 24, 2010 EMPLOYEE OF TERRYVILLE COMPANY ADMITS SUPERVISING
DISCHARGE OF POLLUTANTS INTO PLYMOUTH SEWER SYSTEM
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced
that FABIO DIOSES, 52, of Cheshire, pleaded guilty today before Chief United
States District Judge Alvin W. Thompson in Hartford to one count of knowing
discharge of a pollutant in violation of the Clean Water Act.
According to court documents and statements made in court, DIOSES was
employed by Phoenix Products Company as the superintendent of the company’s
facility located at 97 Napco Drive in Terryville. Phoenix Products provides
formulation, blending and packaging services for a variety of personal care and
swimming pool products. DIOSES’ responsibilities included overseeing the
manufacturing and packaging of certain products at the location, some of which
contained solvents and caustic formulations, inert materials, flammables,
corrosives, oxidizers and powders.
Pursuant to a statewide pretreatment program approved by the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) under the Clean Water Act, Phoenix Products and its
employees were prohibited from discharging any pollutants into the Plymouth
sewer system except in compliance with specific conditions and numeric
limitations set forth in the regulations and statutes administered by the
Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (CT DEP). Phoenix
Products never applied for, nor received, a discharge permit from the State to
discharge pollutants into the Plymouth sewer system.
Phoenix Products used sulfuric acid as part of the manufacturing process for a
drain opener product, which generated highly acidic liquids, including
wastewaters that contained various pollutants, including zinc and copper. During
the course of fulfilling the terms of a contract with a customer for the drain
opener product, Phoenix Products accumulated at its 97 Napco Drive
manufacturing facility six 250 gallon totes (some partially full) containing off-
specification product. While the company had an extensive recycling program,
this off-specification product had no feasible commercial use, except for
reintroduction of approximately five gallons into each new batch of product. The
contents of the totes have been described as a black colored liquid, and
subsequent sampling and analyses revealed that the liquid had a pH of less than
1, which means that it was highly acidic. A label on the totes read, “Old [drain
opener product]. Out of spec.”
Beginning in September 2008 and continuing to October 1, 2008, DIOSES
directed other employees of Phoenix Products to periodically dump several
gallons of the off-specification drain opener product from the totes down certain
drains at the 97 Napco Drive facility.
On September 11, 2008, the Plymouth Water Pollution Control Authority
identified a pH of approximately 2.0 in its influent. Over subsequent days, it
monitored its influent, which measured a consistently low pH every day until
October 1, 2008, when the acidic wastewater was traced along the sewer line to a
manhole located adjacent to 97 Napco Drive. On that date, inspectors from the
Plymouth Water Pollution Control Authority and the CT DEP observed a black-
colored wastewater entering the manhole that had a pH of approximately .26,
which is extremely acidic. The inspectors went to the Phoenix Products
manufacturing facility and observed the 250 gallon totes filled to varying
degrees with a similar black liquid. They also saw black staining in the
maintenance sink in the men’s restroom.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office is steadfast in our commitment to work with the
EPA and our state partners to prosecute companies and their employees who
recklessly violate environmental permits,” U.S. Attorney Fein stated.
Judge Thompson has scheduled sentencing for September 10, 2010, at which
time DIOSES faces a maximum term of imprisonment of three years and a fine
of up to $250,000.
On January 4, 2010, Phoenix Products pleaded guilty to one count of violating
the Clean Water Act. On February 1, the company was sentenced to three years
of probation. In addition, the Court followed the sentencing recommendation
agreed to by the parties in a plea agreement that was reached in the context of
global discussions with Phoenix Products and the State of Connecticut regarding
the company’s criminal and civil liability. The company was ordered to pay a
$50,000 federal criminal fine, a $25,000 civil penalty to the State of Connecticut,
and a payment of $75,000 into the DEP Supplemental Environmental Project
(SEP) Account. Phoenix Products also must make an additional SEP payment of
up to $100,000 if the business is sold.
Phoenix Products also has reimbursed the Town of Plymouth for the costs
incurred to neutralize the acidic conditions.
This case was investigated by the Criminal Investigation Division of the
Environmental Protection Agency. The case is being prosecuted by Senior
Litigation Counsel Christopher W. Schmeisser and Special Assistant U.S.
Attorney Andrew E. Lauterback.
CONTACT: U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE