San Joaquin County Biodiesel Firm Sentenced To Probation, Fines For Clean Water Act Violations
SACRAMENTO, CA (7/11/2019) — On July 8, 2019, United States District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller sentenced the corporation known as American Biodiesel, Inc. for violations of the Clean Water Act, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.
American Biodiesel, Inc., registered in San Joaquin County as Community Fuels, manufactured biodiesel fuel on property leased from the Port of Stockton.
According to court documents, American Biodiesel, Inc. admitted to allowing the discharge of industrial wastewater into the City of Stockton sewer system in violation of Stockton permitting regulations and the federal Clean Water Act. American Biodiesel, Inc. also admitted to tampering with monitoring devices and methods designed to detect such violations. Specifically, employees tampered with pH recordings and flow meters for the purpose of underreporting acid and pollutant levels and volumes that would have exceeded the figures allowed under the City’s regulations.
Judge Mueller imposed a three-year term of probation on American Biodiesel, Inc., including various reporting and monitoring conditions. Judge Mueller also fined American Biodiesel, Inc. $401,000 and ordered restitution to the Port of Stockton and the City of Stockton in the amount of $256,206. Judge Mueller further ordered the company to develop and implement an effective compliance and ethics program, which will be submitted to the court for review.
The indictment in the case also charges Christopher Young, 41, of El Dorado Hills, with conspiracy, 12 counts of tampering with monitoring equipment, two counts of unlawful discharge of industrial wastewater, one count of false statements, and one count of witness tampering. Christopher Young was the Director of Operations at the Stockton plant. The same indictment charges his brother Jeremiah Young, 38, of El Dorado, with conspiracy, eight counts of tampering with monitoring equipment, and two counts of unlawful discharge of industrial wastewater. Jeremiah Young was Assistant Operator for Community Fuels from 2014 to 2016. The Youngs’ cases remain pending before the court. The charges are only allegations; each defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case is the product of an investigation by the EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office, City of Stockton Municipal Utilities Department, San Joaquin County Environmental Health Department, Port of Stockton, and California Department of Toxic Substances Control.
Assistant United States Attorneys Samuel Wong, Philip A. Scarborough, and Paul Hemesath are prosecuting the case.