The owner of a small Ohio oil and gas services company who ordered his employees to dump tens of thousands of gallons of oil field waste into a tributary of the Mahoning River was sentenced to a 28 months in prison Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Donald Nugent also ordered 64-year-old Benedict Lupo, owner of Hardrock Excavating LLC, to pay $25,000 for unlawful discharge of pollutants under the U.S. Clean Water Act.

Lupo pleaded guilty to the charges in March.

He admitted ordering employees to dump fracking wastewater into the Mahoning River tributary 33 times.

According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the wastewaster consisted of “saltwater brine and a slurry of toxic oil-based drilling mud, containing benzene, toluene and other hazardous pollutants.”

The recurring pollution damaged the creek’s ecosystem, according to assistant U.S. attorney Brad Beeson.

Lupo’s employee, Mark A. Goff, pleaded guilty in April of violating the Clean Water Act.

Another employee, Michael P. Guesman, was also charged in the case.

Guesman pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years probation and 300 hours of community service.

The pollution ultimately flowed into the Mahoning River — a source of public drinking water for the cities of Newton Falls and Sebring with a combined population of more than 9,000.

Lupo has publicly apologized for the dumping, citing his deteriorating health as a reason for his actions, the report said.

He suffers from chronic pain and diabetes and has to have dialysis treatments daily, the Plain Dealer said.


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