CLEVELAND - Ben Lupo, former owner of a Youngstown-based wastewater company, has been sentenced to 28 months in prison and fined $25,000 for violating the U.S. Clean Water Act.
The sentence ends a nearly daylong federal court hearing for the 63-year-old, who was charged with dumping thousands of gallons of fracking wastewater into a storm sewer. He faced up to three years in prison and fines as high as $250,000.
Earlier Tuesday, two witnesses spoke in Lupo's defense in the mitigation phase of the case. Physician Thomas Detesco and forensic chemist Stephen Emsbo-Mattingly. The former outlined Lupo's ailing health, which includes a kidney transplant, and the latter evidenced the worst of the chemicals that Lupo dumped did not reach the Mahoning River. Both, they argued, are reasons to keep Lupo's penalty light.
Testifying for the prosecution was Kurt Kollar of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, who responded to the dumping during its discovery.
Prosecutors say Lupo ordered an employee at Hardrock Excavating LLC to repeatedly dump drilling mud and brine intended for deep injection into a sewer emptying into the Mahoning River watershed, or dumped the material himself, between November 2012 and January 2013.
See a full story in tomorrow's Tribune Chronicle.