20 November 2011

2 men, Chesapeake company face polluting charges:

A Chesapeake-based ship-scrapping company and 2 of its officers have been indicted on charges of conspiring to illegally discharge pollutants into the Elizabeth River.

Steven E. Avery, 55, of Bohannon in Mathews County; his father, William J. Avery, 80, of Virginia Beach; and S.E.A. Solutions Corp. all were charged with 7 violations of the Clean Water Act and one count of making false statements to an Environmental Protection Agency investigator, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney's office in the Eastern District of Virginia.

Steven Avery is the vice president of the company, and William Avery is the treasurer.

According to the indictment, pollutants were discharged into the water from the motor vessel Snow Bird, which was being scrapped on a site on the Elizabeth River in Chesapeake.

Contaminated water was pumped overboard to keep the ship afloat and remove excess contaminated water and fluids.

The spill on Oct. 5, 2010 was discovered during a Virginia Department of Environmental Quality compliance inspection at an adjacent facility, according to a consent order from DEQ dated Aug. 5, 2011. The DEQ staffer spotted an oil sheen in the Southern Branch between the shoreline and the Snow Bird. The Coast Guard reported about 4,000 gallons of oil was discharged.

S.E.A. Solutions was ordered to pay a civil charge of $29,430 in settlement of the violations, the DEQ consent order said.

The company had also previously been cited by DEQ for operating without a permit. In October 2008, S.E.A. Solutions agreed to pay a $10,400 civil charge.

The federal counts related to the Clean Water Act carry a maximum term of three years in prison and $50,000 fine for each day the violations occurred. The counts related to the conspiracy and false statements carry a maximum of 5 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, according to the U.S. attorney's office news release.

Source: The Virginian-Pilot. By Lauren King (lauren.king@pilotonline.com). 17 November 2011

Related News:

More than 1,000 gallons of oil spills into Elizabeth River:

Oil spill in Elizabeth River (Source: Associated Press)
More than 1,000 gallons of oil spilled into the southern branch of Elizabeth River on Tuesday, according to a statement from the U.S. Coast Guard.

The incident occurred at a ship dismantling facility in Chesapeake owned by Sea Solutions Corp. Workers had been cutting apart a container ship for its steel and pumping oil towards the stern when oil from the remainder of the ship leaked into a cove, the Coast Guard said.

Sea Solutions called the Coast Guard and hired Coastal Solutions, which removed more than 1,000 gallons of oil from the water. A containment boom prevented the oil from spreading beyond the cove, the Coast Guard said.

An undetermined amount of oil remains aboard the ship.

Source: The Daily Press. By Cory Nealon. 7 October 2010

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