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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Millions Of Gallons Of Wastewater Illegally Dumped In Streams

Greene County business owner charged with illegally dumping millions of gallons of gas drilling waste water and sewage sludge

HARRISBURG - Agents from the Attorney General's Environmental Crimes Section have filed criminal charges against a Greene County business owner and his company, who are accused of illegally dumping millions of gallons of waste water across southwestern Pennsylvania - including production water from gas drilling operations, sludge from sewage treatment plants and grease water from restaurants that cannot enter normal sewage systems.

Acting Attorney General Bill Ryan identified the defendant as Robert Allan Shipman, 50, of 1487 Toms Run Road, Holbrook. Criminal charges were also filed against Shipman's business, Allan's Waste Water Service, Inc., also of Holbrook.

"This was a calculated and long-running scheme to personally profit by illegally dumping waste water, regardless of the potential for environmental damage," Ryan said. "Shipman is accused of orchestrating a scheme to dump waste products into streams, mine shafts and business properties across Allegheny, Fayette, Greene, Lawrence, Washington and Westmoreland counties."

Ryan said evidence and testimony about the alleged dumping scheme was presented to a statewide investigating grand jury, which recommended the criminal charges that were filed today.

According to the grand jury, Shipman and his company were hired by numerous businesses in the region to haul and dispose of various waste water products. Between 2003 and 2009, Shipman allegedly instructed drivers to mix various wastes together, in what was often referred to as a "cocktail," and then dump that mixture at locations across the region.

Ryan said the purpose of the "cocktail" mixture was to allegedly conceal the true nature of the waste water, allowing it to be disposed of in an improper manner, as well as to increase the volume of disposals that were billed to various customers.

According to the grand jury, Shipman directed drivers to falsify manifests so he could bill customers for the full capacity of their trucks, regardless of how much waste was actually being transported and disposed. He is also accused of instructing other employees to shred and discard actual manifests in order to generate new fraudulent invoices which would be sent to customers, forging drivers' signatures and other information on those bogus manifests.

During the course of the investigation, agents identified forged manifests for numerous businesses operating in southwestern Pennsylvania, including: Washington Penn Plastics, Penneco Oil Company, American Oil and Gas, DynaTec Energy, PA Land Service, All Clad Metal Crafters, CNX, Coal Gas Recovery, Precision Marshall Steel Company, Morgantown Technical Services, Targe Energy, Nemacolin Inc., Greene Resources, Jes-Mar Energy, Luzerne Township Sewage Authority, Mountain View Oil and Gas, Allegheny Power, Cracker Barrel, Menallen Township Sewer Authority, and Unit-Marts Inc.

Additionally, Ryan said that Shipman allegedly instructed drivers to leave water valves open at gas wells, in order to allow production water to flow onto the ground and into nearby waterways - typically after dark or during heavy rains, in order to conceal the illegal discharge. At other times, drivers were instructed to park their trucks in the garage at Shipman's business and dump the water into a floor drain, which leads directly to a nearby stream.

Ryan said that over the course of the alleged scheme, Shipman is accused of stealing in excess of $250,000 from clients as a result of the overbilling scheme, and improperly disposing of millions of gallons of waste water.

Shipman is charged with a total of 98 criminal counts, including participating in a corrupt organization, criminal conspiracy, theft, forgery, receiving stolen property, pollution of waters, dealing in the proceeds of unlawful activity (money laundering), tampering with public records, and violations of Pennsylvania's Clean Streams Law, Solid Waste Management Act and Fish and Boat Codes.

Allan's Waste Water Service is charged with 77 criminal counts for similar offenses.

The criminal charges filed today carry substantial prison terms along with fines in excess of $1.5 million for Shipman and $1.2 million for his company.

Shipman and Allan's Waste Water Service were both preliminarily arraigned today before Waynesburg Magisterial District Judge D. Glenn Bates. Bail was set at $500,000 apiece.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 25th before Magisterial District Judge D. Glenn Bates.

The case will be prosecuted in Greene County by Deputy Attorney General Amy J. Carnicella of the Attorney General's Environmental Crimes Section.

Ryan thanked the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission for their cooperation and assistance with this investigation.


Anonymous said...

This guy needs to spend some major time looking at the world through bars

Anonymous said...

This same type of thing went on in the Austin area years ago!No one even got a fine!

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many they didn`t catch ?

Anonymous said...

4:31 put up or shut up. I am sick of know it all dildines getting on here and pointing fingers. Let's have a name and some approximate dates for this, or are you just blabbing away without any meat to what you allege?

Anonymous said...

Well I'm sure he's the only one.

This industry is safe and cares about our community.

/sarcasm off

Anonymous said...

Hopefully he gets at least LIFE in prison....its all about GREED!!!and you can bet theres alot more going on from the top of the totom pole to the bottom! its all about money...

Anonymous said...

But don't worry....the entire industry is totally safe. They have so many regulations to follow it's obscene....

Right? Right?

A valve on a storage tank was left open at a well site not too long ago. And untold thousands of gallons of flowback produced water was dumped into the environment. And a bunch of folks here were blaming environmentalists.

Anonymous said...

4;44 Late 70's thru the late 80's right behind what is now called Big Mikes main st Austin.A red pump truck was parked there every night. A big hose laid under the brush and weeds that hooked to the back of the truck it then ran directly into freeman run! YOU figure out the rest!

Anonymous said...

To 4:31.....Whats wrong with you ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Anonymous said...

Holy crap! It's like the guy had a personal grudge against the environment. All that destruction over 6 years for a measly $250,000? Child's play, sans an unnatural hate for the environment.

@5:53:00 PM: You're absolutely correct.

Pardon me if I rant for a minute or two: The gas industry is not here to make nice. It cares only as much as is it forced to by the state governments about immediate environmental impact and has the resources to prolong litigation, due to the long term environmental impact, for decades. Seriously, it's not here help. It's here to extract natural resources FOR PROFIT on the best terms their money can buy.

How do I portend to know all this? You might ask. It's because I am part of the machine that has descended on the Marcellus Shale energy play. And because it is how the energy industry and most multinational industries work. If you leave a shortcut open, we will take it. If you let us off easy, we won't remember to be more careful the next times.

Believe it.

Anonymous said...

i'd call this waste of flesh a greedy pig, but that would be an insult to a pig.

Anonymous said...

Teneleven ... well said

Anonymous said...

8:11 dumping in the streams is ok with you ?

Anonymous said...

This all took place between 2003 to 2009?

Are you shitting me?

Where was DEP?

Where were all the PAID state employees from this agency and all the other regulators of PA?

All the while Northern PA had regulations shoved up their butts...can't let cows "walk" through shallow creeks...can't run a piece of equipment ie: log skidder, through a all but dried up body of water to get to the other side of the property without building a bridge, designed by some book smart idiot from Harrisburg, the list goes on and on...

Where is the accountability of our paid STATE EMPLOYEES in all of this?

What this man and his employees did was wrong in so many ways.....but the accountability does not stop with him!!!!

Want to cut the budget Corbot, start in your own back yard!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Wait, you complain 'where were the paid state employees for this area?'

then suggest if the governor wants to cut budget areas he should... what? reduce funding for the paid state employees that don't exist?

one of the biggest parts of the problem is we simply don't have enough state employees to monitor it all. it's not like they create the department and then magically they have oversight of the entire state... it takes people to do this job.

of course the real answer is to dissolve the agency entirely, pass out some more tax cuts.

everyone knows jesus is coming soon so i don't even know why we worry about the environment.

Anonymous said...

No matter how you look at it government workers are lazy local,state,fed whatever!They collect their big pay,big benefit's while driving a government paid for car and don't really care about anything but their pockets! We don't need more government employees we need to lay off or fire thwe lazy ones!



Anonymous said...

Our state does not require waste haulers to be "metered" for the amount. We need oversight for waste transporters,to account for how much they receive and deliver to the waste water treatment plants.

Waste transporters need stricter regulations and greater oversight,
requiring a chain of custody from the waste generating sites to the waste treatment facilities,
With all these streams and back roads..
We should not allow waste haulers to work under the honor system.

Anonymous said...

corbett will probably bail this guy out and appoint him as a waste management official.