Fifth oilfield waste dumping defendant charged


Staff report

CLEVELAND

A fifth defendant has been charged with violating the federal Clean Water Act in the dumping of oilfield waste into a Mahoning River tributary late in 2012 and early in 2013.

David N. Jenkins, 34, of Warren, was charged via criminal information with one count of violating the act by directing Michael P. Guesman, another employee of Hardrock Excavating LLC, of 2761 Salt Springs Road, to dump fracking waste into a storm drain flowing into that unnamed tributary without a permit, the U.S. attorney said Monday.

Ben Lupo, Hardrock’s owner, directed Jenkins to contact employees about emptying the stored waste liquids into the stormwater drain at night, the U.S. attorney said.

Lupo is serving a 28-month prison term and was fined $25,000 after he pleaded guilty to violating the act.

He is scheduled to be released Oct. 11 from the Federal Medical Center, Devens in Ayer, Mass.

Hardrock provided services to the oil and gas industry in Ohio and Pennsylvania, including the storage of brine and oil-based drilling mud used in hydrofracturing, or fracking.

The facility had about 58 mobile storage tanks, each holding about 20,000 gallons.

Lupo, 65, of Springfield Township, directed employees to empty some of the waste liquid stored at the facility into the drain on or about Nov. 1, 2012, when they were alone after dark.

The last time an employee emptied waste liquid into the drain was Jan. 31, 2013.

The other defendants in this case were Guesman, of Cortland, and Mark A. Goff of Newton Falls, who were put on probation after pleading guilty to violating the act and saying they repeatedly dumped the waste at Lupo’s direction; and Hardrock Excavating LLC, which pleaded guilty to violating the act and was fined $75,000.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine civilly sued all five defendants in the federal case, plus D&L Energy Inc., another Lupo company, for more than $25,000 June 3 in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, saying the discharges from Hardrock violated state environmental-protection laws at least 25 times.

The federal case is being prosecuted by Brad Beeson, an assistant U.S. attorney, after an investigation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Ohio EPA, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Youngstown Department of Public Works and the Youngstown Fire Department.

Subscribe Today

Sign up for our email newsletter to receive daily news.

Want more? Click here to subscribe to either the Print or Digital Editions.