Attorney General Cuomo Announces Former City Water Superintendent And Filtration Plant Employee Indicted For Knowingly Dumping Sludge Into Susquehanna River

BINGHAMTON, NY (March 11, 2009) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that a former city water filtration plant superintendent and employee were indicted for knowingly dumping sludge into the Susquehanna River. The river is the primary drinking water supply for Binghamton, Johnson City, and other downstream communities.

Daniel E. Rose, 31, of Port Crane, a former filtration plant employee, was charged with fourteen counts of knowingly discharging pollutants into state waters, all felonies that each carry a maximum penalty of four years in prison. Kevin E. Transue, 55, the former filtration plant superintendent, who currently resides in Florida, was charged as a knowing accomplice to Rose in seven of those counts. Transue was also charged with three counts of violating a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (“DEC”) permit that had been issued to the plant, by failing to file a required annual report with the DEC. These three counts are all misdemeanors, with each carrying a maximum penalty of one year in jail.

“What is alleged to have occurred in this case shows a total disregard for the environment and the many communities through which this vital river flows,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “The Susquehanna is one of the most recognizable waterways in the Southern Tier and the Eastern United States, providing drinking water as well as commercial and recreational activities for tens of thousands of New Yorkers.”

"Today’s case is a clear display of the hard work and success that has come from the restructuring of DEC’s Bureau of Environmental Crimes Investigation (BECI), a unit focusing on high-level and complex environmental crimes,” said DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis. “Our BECI unit has worked cooperatively with the state Attorney General’s Office to ensure that environmental crimes are pursued vigorously, and that parties are held accountable for their actions. Our officers will continue to work hard to protect the state's natural resources for the benefit of all New Yorkers."

The Susquehanna River is one of the longest rivers in the United States, and the longest on the Eastern Seaboard. It runs from Otsego County through Pennsylvania and parts of Maryland before emptying into the Chesapeake Bay.

As part of the purification process at the Binghamton water filtration plant, chemicals are introduced to water drawn from the river, which combine with sediments and other impurities, and then settle to the bottom of sedimentation basins. The remaining water is then further treated for public consumption. The separated chemicals and sediments, referred to as “sludge,” are then drained to the sewer system where the sludge is treated and legally disposed of.

It is alleged that on fourteen separate occasions from March 24, 2006 through November 3, 2007, Rose discharged chemical-laden sludge directly into the Susquehanna River, contrary to the DEC permit that was first issued to the plant in March 2001. The permit only allows for the discharge of water into the river under specific limited circumstances. It is further alleged that Transue failed in his duties to monitor and report discharges and acted in concert with Rose’s dumping. The indictment also charges Transue with negligently failing to comply with DEC reporting requirements.

Both defendants were arraigned today before Broome County Court Judge Joseph F. Cawley and were released on their own recognizance.

The Attorney General thanked the DEC for its assistance in the investigation.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Nicholas DeMartino, of the Criminal Prosecutions Bureau, under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief Richard Ernst and Bureau Chief Gail Heatherly. The investigation of this matter was conducted by Department of Environmental Conservation Police Investigator James Boylan and DEC Lt. James Masuicca..

The charges are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.