By: KDKA-TV News Staff

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – James Paprocki, a former supervisor of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority has been charged in federal court with conspiring to violate the Clean Water Act.

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According to acting U.S. Attorney Stephen Kaufman, while Paprocki was a supervisor at the PWSA drinking water plant in Aspinwall between 2010 and 2017, Paprocki and another supervisor directed employees to discharge clarifier sludge into the Allegheny River.

These orders violated the PWSA’s National Pollution Discharge Elimination permit.

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Clarifier sludge is created when raw water is converted into potable drinking water and under the terms of the NPDE, the sludge must be sent to ALCOSAN’s treatment facility. When the PWSA obtained an industrial user permit in 2015, they were authorized to send up to one million gallons of sludge per day to ALCOSAN’s waste treatment facility.

PWSA was also required to report the daily volume of sludge and install flow meters at various locations at the Aspinwall plant. This would monitor the level of sludge and under Paprocki, a number of the flow meters became inoperable and other employees simply estimated the amount of sludge they sent to ALCOSAN.

“Directing the discharge of pollutants into western Pennsylvania’s rivers is unacceptable and violates federal environmental law,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Kaufman. “Our office will continue to work with EPA and other state and local environmental regulators to hold offenders accountable and protect the environment.”

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If convicted, Paprocki is facing a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000.