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UPDATED | Lupo charged; 'hazardous pollutants' found in samples

Published: Thu, February 14, 2013 @ 2:59 p.m.



State regulators revealed that man-made chemicals were discovered in samples taken from storage tanks at 2761 Salt Springs Road, the site of last month’s illegal drilling waste dump.

At a just completed news conference at the B&O Station near the Mahoning River, U.S. Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach said hazardous pollutants including benzene and toluene were found in samples from the tank and the river.

In court papers filed today, the presence of chlorides was also detected which is “indicative of brine ...” Those same records indicated that an employee told investigators that Lupo began discharging the waste as early as November 2012. The employee said he was aware of 20 separate dumping incidents.

Richard J. Simmers, chief of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management also confirmed that it was entirely “possible” that Lupo had been accepting the waste at his company’s headquarters on Salt Springs Road solely for the purpose of dumping so he could continue taking more waste to make money. ODNR officials are examing brine hauling records to determine if Lupo’s companies were taking on more waste than they could dispose of under state law.

Chris Abbruzzesse, spokesman for the OEPA, said comprehensive test results would be released by the end of the day.

Also at the news conference, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said he beleives Ohio's laws covering such environmental cases should be strengthened, saying they should reflect the stiff penalties under federal law. He added that Gov. John Kasich has requested that his office take a closer look at Lupo's history of violations, which stretch back to the 1970s. Given the circumstances, DeWine said, it is likely the state will pursue civil charges as well.

Earlier today, the office of Magistrate Judge George J. Limbert confirmed that Ben W. Lupo, owner of D&L Energy and Hardrock Excavating made his initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Youngstown.

Lupo self-surrendered after criminal complaint and arrest warrants were issued. He waived a reading of the complaint, pleaded not guilty and retained council.

He was released on $50,000 unsecured bond. Lupo has been charged with violating federal laws after he admitted to instructing employees to dump hundreds of thousands of gallons of drilling waste into a storm drain that discharged into a nearby creek and into the Mahoning River.

If convicted of violating the Clean Air Act, Lupo faces up to three years imprisonment and millions in fines.

This is a developing story; read more on Vindy.com and in Friday’s Vindicator


1jeepers(127 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

Filing charges is only a first step. We won't know if there will be any penalties for mr Lupo for a long time I am afraid. And mere financial penalties won't cut it-his companies just raise prices to cover fines as a cost of business. This idiot needs to be locked up for a while and made to study environmental sciences until he understands what he has done. But a bone-head like him will probably never understand.

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2georgejeanie(1526 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

I wonder how many of Youngstown's and Mahoning county politicians this guy has in his back pocket, better move the trial to Columbus so, just maybe the public sees this guy in jail.

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3DACOUNTRYBOY(1221 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

To be fair and balanced Mahoning River water should be tested from above Warren Ohio and the tests should run to the Pennsylvania line. All discharges and tributaries should be tested. Why just single out this polluter?

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4anothermike(227 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

Isn't that just great? This jackass is collecting money from other companies and taking their waste and DUMPING IT IN OUR RIVER, and the taxpayers get to pay for the cleanup. They need to shut down ALL of his operations, and seize ALL of his assets immediately if not sooner. We could all make money breaking the law, but that's not the way it's supposed to work....

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5republicanRick(1731 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

The law should also go after the employee that actually did the dumping. Going forward, employees can also be charged, unless they refuse to dump and call authorities. If they squeal they are given immunity; if not, they can also be charged.

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6Attis(1134 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

An environmental terrorist like this who endangers the health and even life of countless residents with his wantonly criminal actions gets out on bail and faces only a maximum of three years in prison, if convicted. Compare that to an elderly Amish bishop who did next to nothing but still rots in jail for 15 years. It's not only the river that is polluted with toxic waste; so is the criminal justice system.

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7Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

So is Stone burner . Why is the paper giving them a break ??????

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8JoeFromHubbard(1803 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

So Mr. Lupo has been charged with something.

That should make all of the fracophobics rest more easily at night.

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