• Indictments In West Virginia Water Contamination Case Reminder Of Potential Criminal Consequences
  • February 4, 2015
  • Law Firm: Sutherland Asbill Brennan LLP - Washington Office
  • Six owners, managers, and employees of the company that owned the West Virginia storage facility that leaked chemicals into the Elk River and contaminated the Charleston area’s water supply in January 2014 were charged criminally yesterday with violations of the Clean Water Act. The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia indicted four individuals for failing to meet a “reasonable standard of care” in running the company and alleges that they “approved funding only for those projects that would result in increased business revenue for [the company] or that were necessary to make immediate repairs to equipment that was broken or about to break.” The indictment also alleges that these individuals failed to inspect the leaking tank, failed to maintain secondary containment around the tank, failed to adequately train the company’s employees, and lacked a spill prevention plan. This indictment serves as a reminder to all that regardless of your position within your company, you can be susceptible to criminal charges if you fail to exercise a reasonable standard of care in preventing and mitigating community and environmental damage.