Man sentenced in brine case

YOUNGSTOWN – A Newton Falls man was sentenced this week to probation and community service for his part in dumping brine and oil field waste down a Youngstown storm sewer.

Mark A. Goff, 46, also was sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge Donald C. Nugent on a single count of violating the federal Clean Water Act. He had pleaded guilty to the charge in April.

Goff had worked at Hardrock Excavating on Salt Springs Road when the incident occurred in late 2012. Court documents indicate Goff 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 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 next month. Two witnesses, a physician and a forensic chemist, have been scheduled to testify on Lupo’s behalf during his Aug. 5 sentencing. The defense has requested 90 minutes be allotted for each witness’ testimony.

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.

A separate criminal charge also still is pending against the company, Hardrock Excavating. The trial date for that case has been delayed, but no new date has been scheduled. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for next week.

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.