YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – After more than than two years of investigation and legal negotiations, a deal was struck in a local brine dumping case Friday.
Back in April 2013, state agents searched the property and offices of Soil Remediation, Incorporated in Lowellville, which recycles material contaminated by oil and gas field waste.
Friday morning in court, the company, its president David Genaro and plant manager Frank Naples pleaded guilty to accepting and storing waste, including brine, without having the proper permits.
“Solid waste dumped and buried at SRI consisted of waste from wells located in Ohio, West Virgina and Pennsylvania,” Assistant Ohio Attorney General Robert Cheugh said.
Although neither Genaro nor Naples said anything on their own, their lawyers claim the pair admit what they did violated regulations.
“There was no criminal intent to go out and commit these specific crimes,” John Shultz, David Genaro’s lawyer, said.
Judge Maureen Sweeney ordered the company to pay $120,000 in fines and restitution, while Genaro will have to pay $45,000 and Naples $25,000. But members of the environmental group “Frack Free Mahoning Valley” were openly disappointed the pair wasn’t sent to prison.
“Just to make sure that nobody else has that on their agenda, to profit off pollution,” Judy Vershum of Frack Free Mahoning Valley said.
Others worry that what they called a lenient sentence will be little to keep others from dumping waste illegally
“And the cost in human suffering is mounting, whether it be here in Youngstown or across the nation,” Kathleen Berry of Frack Free Mahoning Valley said.
Both men were also placed on four years’ probation and given that same amount of time to pay off their fines and fees.