Indiana Waste Treatment Company Charged with Conspiracy and Violating the Clean Water Act

Tierra Environmental and Industrial Services, Inc., a centralized waste treatment facility in East Chicago, Ind., its owner and a manager were charged yesterday with conspiracy and felony violations of the Clean Water Act in a seven-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury, the Department of Justice announced.

Tierra Environmental, owner Ronald Holmes and manager Stewart J. Roth have been charged with illegally discharging wastewater into the sewers of the Hammond Sanitary District from a closed facility.

Tierra, located at 3821 Indianapolis Blvd., is a centralized waste treatment facility that charges customers to dispose of their polluted wastewater. Tierra advertised itself as specializing in spill remediation; bio-waste cleanup; waste brokerage; hazardous and non-hazardous transportation services; industrial wastewater/sludge removal and disposal; grease trap cleaning and tank cleaning for hotels and restaurants; and liquid waste transportation and disposal from food processors, distributors and manufacturers in all industries. Tierra collected both hazardous and non-hazardous liquid wastes from customers, using a number of vacuum trucks and tanker tractor-trailer trucks. Tierra had facilities for limited storage, separation and solidification of non-hazardous wastes.

According to the indictment, Tierra’s East Chicago facility did not hold a permit to discharge industrial waste to the East Chicago Sanitary District’s sewer system and the facility’s connection to that sanitary sewer system had been sealed shut. The company therefore had to transport wastewaters it collected from customers to other facilities for final treatment and/or disposal.

The indictment alleges that the conspiracy was undertaken for the purpose of avoiding expenses associated with treating and/or paying other facilities to lawfully treat, store, or dispose of wastewaters collected from customers. The indictment alleges that the defendants conspired to achieve this objective by transporting wastewater to a shut-down, unpermitted facility located at 3, 141st Street, Hammond, Ind., that was owned and/or controlled by Ronald Holmes. There, the wastewater was discharged directly to the Hammond Sanitary District’s sewer system.

Holmes was the owner of Tierra, and also served as its president and secretary. Roth was a Project Manager at Tierra. Roth had been with Tierra since 2005.

The Clean Water Act makes it a felony to knowingly discharge trucked or hauled pollutants into a publicly-owned treatment works (POTW) from a discharge point not designated by the POTW.

If convicted, Holmes and Roth face up to five years in prison on the conspiracy count and three years on each of the Clean Water Act counts, as well as a criminal fine of up to $250,000 for each count. The company may also face fines and probation.

Download Center

  • Your Guide to Environmental Metrics that Drive Performance

    Translating sustainability into action starts with implementing the right metrics to assess your environmental risk and performance. Learn how to design metrics that improve your decision-making process and drive enterprise performance.

  • Unpacking ESG: 6 Questions You Were Too Afraid to Ask

    Environmental and Sustainability experts from Arcadis and Cority answer 6 of the most pressing questions EHS professionals have about getting started with Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reporting.

  • 5 Keys to Best-in-Class Chemical Management

    Running a safe chemical program is challenging and complex: from knowing what's on-site to proper handling and disposal - all while navigating regulatory changes. Learn the best ways to mitigate chemical risk, get the most value out of your data, and gain buy-in for a chemical management solution.

  • Streamline Your Air Emissions Management

    See how consolidating all your emissions management functions into one centralized system can help you streamline your operations, more easily maintain compliance, and achieve greater time and cost savings.

  • A Crash Course in Creating the Right Environmental Scoring System

    Learn how to develop the right environmental scoring system so you can easily benchmark performance across all your facilities and gain a holistic view of your environmental programs.

  • Industry Safe