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Ga. man accused of dumping waste into Potomac River | News

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Ga. man accused of dumping waste into Potomac River

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- A Georgia man was indicted on conspiracy, Clean Water Act, false claims and related charges for allegedly dumping waste into the Potomac River from 2009 to 2011.

According to Department of Justice officials, 47-year-old Patrick Brightwell of Bogart, Ga. is accused of orchestrating the dumping at Hains Point during the time his company was hired by the National Park Service to clean out the storm water sewer system on the National Mall.

Brightwell was arrested on Thursday. The indictment charges Brightwell with conspiracy, conspiracy, a Clean Water Act violation, false claims, and obstructing the investigation by tampering with witnesses and making false statements.

According to the Department of Justice, "According to the indictment, from in or about 2008 through 2011, Brightwell's company had a contract with the National Park Service to clean the storm water sewer system on the National Mall. The contract required that waste removed from the Mall's storm drains and oil-water separators be disposed of at a proper disposal facility in compliance with District of Columbia regulations and federal law. Brightwell hired employees to work under the contract in 2008, 2009, and 2010, and hired a subcontractor, B&P Environmental LLC, to perform the work in 2011. Each year, Brightwell supervised the work: collecting waste in a vacuum truck, a vehicle designed to gather, store, and transport such waste.

As alleged in the indictment, in 2009, 2010, and 2011, Brightwell directed his employees and subcontractors to discharge waste from the vacuum truck at a storm drain on Hains Point, where the waste would flow into the Potomac River; Brightwell also directed his employees to conceal these discharges from the National Park Service and police.

During this period, Brightwell continued to invoice the National Park Service for cleaning services, but concealed and did not disclose that Brightwell's company was not properly disposing of the waste, as required by the contract. Brightwell's company received approximately $533,000 between 2008 and 2011, according to the indictment.

The indictment further alleges that, on June 6, 2011, after the U.S. Park Police stopped the vacuum truck at Hains Point, Brightwell sought to obstruct the investigation by making false statements himself, by telling a subcontractor to make false statements to the police, and by telling an employee to leave the area to prevent police from interviewing him."

Earlier this year,  B&P Environmental LLC, and a B&P employee working on June 6, 2011 pleaded guilty to violations of the Clean Water Act before the U.S. District Court. The company and employee are awaiting sentencing.

Brightwell faces up to five years in prison on each of the conspiracy and false claims charges, as well as a $250,000 fine; a maximum sentence of three years in prison on the Clean Water Act violation and a fine of up to $50,000 per day; up to 20 years in prison on the witness tampering counts; and up to five years in prison on the false statement count, if convicted of the crimes/