MARTINSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA – Timothy Peer, of Springfield, West Virginia, was indicted this week by a federal grand jury sitting in Wheeling for violating permits and discharging untreated sewage from his sewage treatment plant, United States Attorney Bill Powell announced.
Peer, age 55, was the owner of Mountainaire Village Utility, LLC, a sewage water treatment plant serving the residents of Mountainaire Village near Ridgeley, West Virginia. Peer owned and operated this business from early 2008 to July 2016. From 2014 to 2016, Peer is accused of failing to maintain the treatment plant, resulting in untreated and undertreated sewage being discharged into the North Branch of the Potomac River, violating the Clean Water Act and his permit. Peer is accused of falsely reporting quarterly testing on the wastewater from the plant, and of continuing to charge customers for the treatment of their sewage despite the services not being provided.
Peer is charged with one count of “Knowing Violation of Permit Conditions,” five counts of “Knowing Discharges of Pollutants in Violation of Permit,” one count of “Knowing Discharge of a Pollutant Without a Permit ,” six counts of “False Statements on Discharge Monitoring Reports,” and one count of “Mail Fraud.”
“Violating environmental laws often does long term damage to our environment and risks the health of the people in our communities. Such violations must be prosecuted and those responsible held accountable,” said Powell.
“EPA’s sewage treatment regulations are designed to protect both humans and wildlife,” said Special Agent in Charge Jennifer Lynn of EPA’s criminal enforcement program in West Virginia. “EPA will work with its law enforcement partners to pursue those who falsify data and disregard laws that are critical to protecting clean water and public health.”
Peer faces not more than 3 years; not less than $5,000 (if a fine is imposed) and not more than $50,000 per day of violation; or $250,000; or twice the amount of gain or loss; for the first count. He faces up to two years incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000 for each of the discharge counts, and faces up to 20 years incarceration and a fine of up to $250,000 for the mail fraud count. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Assistant U.S. Attorney David J. Perri and Special Assistant United States Attorney Perry McDaniel, with the Southern District of West Virginia U.S. Attorney’s Office, are prosecuting the case on behalf of the government. The Environmental Protection Agency and the West Virginia Department of Environment Protection investigated.
An indictment is merely an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.