By Associated Press - Saturday, July 11, 2015

HONOLULU (AP) - Waste Management Hawaii and two of its top employees pleaded guilty Friday to charges stemming from a 2011 landfill spill as part of a settlement agreement with U.S. attorneys.

The company pleaded guilty to two charges of violating the clean water act in the January 2011 incident. Millions of gallons of contaminated storm water had spilled from Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill into the ocean, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported (https://bit.ly/1SfyB5l).

Waste management Hawaii will pay a $400,000 criminal fine and $200,000 in restitution. The restitution will go to the Ko Olina Coast Community Association and the Malama Learning Center.

Vice President Joseph Whelan and Environmental Protection Manager Justin Lottig each pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of negligence and will pay $25,000.

Attorneys for Waste Management, which is the largest waste disposal company in the United States, has call the charges baselessy. She said employees had acted “heroically” to prevent further harm or possible death.



Instead of the trial that was scheduled to go before U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Malloway on August 4, a formal sentencing hearing will be held October 26.

The three parties were served a 13-count indictment last year. It charged them with knowingly committing violations of the clean water act and conspiring to make false statements to the state Health Department.

The company was facing a maximum fine of $500,000 for each count. Whelan and Lottig could have been imprisoned.

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Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, https://www.staradvertiser.com

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