YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - Prosecutors are charging a northeast Ohio man with violating the federal Clean Water Act after at least 20,000 gallons of gas-drilling waste was dumped into a river tributary.
The U.S. Attorney's Office announced the charge Thursday against 62-year-old Ben Lupo of Poland, near Youngstown. He pleaded not guilty.
Lupo owns Hardrock Excavating LLC. He faces up to three years in prison, a $250,000 fine and a year of supervised release if convicted.
Authorities allege Lupo directed an employee to illegally discharge the drilling mud and brine into a storm sewer that empties into the Mahoning River watershed on Jan. 31.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources revoked the permits of Hardrock, a brine hauler, and D&L Energy after workers at the companies' Youngstown headquarters reported seeing the material being dumped.
The study found that asthma treatments were four times more common in areas near drilling sites.
A Warren man was charged for directing a former employee of a Youngstown-based company to dump fracking waste into a tributary of the Mahoning River, which is a source of public drinking water for several Ohio cities.
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