Third man guilty in brine case

YOUNGSTOWN – A Newton Falls man on Monday admitted in federal court to his part in polluting Ohio waterways when he dumped oil field waste down a Youngstown storm sewer.

Mark A. Goff, 46, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Donald Nugent in Cleveland to a single count of violating the federal Clean Water Act.

Goff had worked at Hardrock Excavating on Salt Springs Road when the incident occurred. Court documents indicate he was ordered by his then-boss Benedict Lupo of Poland to dump the waste down the drain, rather than dispose of it according to Ohio Department of Natural Resources regulations.

Goff is now scheduled to return to federal court for sentencing July 7. A person who answered the phone at a number listed for Goff said Goff was not available.

Goff is the second Hardrock Excavating employee to admit to the illegal dumping. His co-worker, Michael Guesman, 34 of Cortland, also pleaded guilty to the charge and has been sentenced to community service. Lupo also has pleaded guilty to the same count, and is scheduled to be sentenced June 16.

Investigators have said Lupo on many occasions ordered employees to dump chemical-laced liquid waste and oil field mud down the drain, located less than a mile from the Mahoning River.

Cleanup of the area following the discovery surpassed more than $3 million and lasted for months, Ohio EPA officials have said.

A criminal charge also is pending against the company, Hardrock Excavating.

The statutory maximum for violating the Clean Water Act is three years in prison, a year of supervised release and daily fines up to $50,000 per day of violation or $250,000, whichever is larger.