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.
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.
Crystalline silica is found in everyday materials, but it can cause health problems for workers exposed to it on a regular basis.