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JUDGE IMPOSES $5.7 MILLION FINE IN ENVIRONMENTAL CRIMES CASE

 JUDGE IMPOSES $5.7 MILLION FINE IN ENVIRONMENTAL CRIMES CASE
 HARRISBURG, Pa., May 29 /PRNewswire/ -- A bankrupt Pittsburgh-based company that discharged improperly treated industrial wastewater from a Mercer County treatment plant today was ordered to pay $5.7 million to the state's Clean Water Fund -- one of the largest fines ever imposed in an environmental crimes case in Pennsylvania.
 Attorney General Ernie Preate Jr. said the sentence was imposed on Pennsylvania Engineering Corp. (PEC), 95 32nd St., Pittsburgh, by Mercer County Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas T. Frampton.
 PEC had pleaded guilty last December in Mercer County Court to 571 violations of the Clean Streams Law.
 Frampton ordered PEC to pay $10,000 to the Clean Water Fund for each violation.
 Preate noted that PEC is being dissolved through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy action in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
 The attorney general said collection of the fine will be pursued by the Department of Environmental Resources (DER). Frampton directed the trustee in the bankruptcy case to report every six months to DER on the status of the bankruptcy action.
 The charges resulted from an investigation by Preate's Environmental Crimes Section. The probe was prompted by a referral from the DER, which assisted in the investigation.
 Preate said PEC operated the Perox acid regeneration and rinsewater treatment plant in Farrell from 1981 until last year. The plant processes industrial wastewater, much of which is generated at the Sharon Steel Mill plant in Farrell.
 Prosecutors charged that on multiple occasions from August 1989 until April 1991, the plant discharged wastewater that was either more acidic or more alkaline than allowed under its permit.
 PEC also was charged with failing to retain required records of its discharges and with knowingly providing false information to DER.
 Deputy Attorney General Matthew L. Wolford, who served as prosecutor, said PEC no longer operates the Perox treatment facility.
 The Environmental Crimes Section is part of the Office of Attorney General. It operates in cooperation with DER, from which it receives additional staff and funding.
 -0- 5/29/92
 /CONTACT: Jack J. Lewis of Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office, 717-787-5211, or at home, 717-657-9840/ CO: Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office; Pennsylvania
 Engineering Corp. ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:


DM -- PG017 -- 5326 05/29/92 16:42 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 29, 1992
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