Environmental Enforcement: Grand Jury Indicts Father and Son Wastewater Team

by | Feb 28, 2011

A federal grand jury has indicted the general manager and a shift supervisor of a wastewater treatment facility in Shreveport, La., for alleged illegal discharge of wastewater.

U.S. Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced Thursday that general manager John Tuma, 53, of Centerville, Texas, and shift supervisor Cody Tuma, 27, of Shreveport, La., stand accused of violations of the federal Clean Water Act while working for Arkla Disposal Services, Inc.

The men, who are father and son, have both been charged with a five-count indictment. The charges include:

  • discharging untreated wastewater into the local Shreveport, La. publicly owned treatment works in violation of their facility’s industrial user permit;
  • releasing untreated wastewater directly into the Red River (pictured) without a permit;
  • conspiracy and obstruction of justice related to illegal discharges coming from the Arkla Facility.

The indictment also alleges that the Tumas obstructed an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) inspection in June 2007.

The Arkla facility received off-site wastewater from industrial processes, oilfield exploration and oil production.

The case is being investigated by the EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney C. Mignonne Griffing and Trial Attorney Leslie E. Lehnert, both of the environmental crimes section of the Department of Justice.

Dallas-based Haynes and Boone, LLP, which is representing John Tuma, said, “Mr. Tuma will plead not guilty to all allegations in the indictment. He emphatically denies those allegations and looks forward to clearing his name and establishing his innocence at trial.”

Cody Tuma is represented by a local Shreveport attorney, according to reports.

A 2008 investigative report by local paper the Shreveport Times about possible illegal dumping of wastewater into the Red River found records revealing four “hidden tanks of hazardous waste” on the Arkla site, as well as indications that effluent and water testing records at the plant were fabricated, and expressed concerns about the presence of dangerous toxins within wastewater and sludge held at the facility.

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