Sewage Treatment Plant Operator Given Prison Time

Monday, February 6, 2012

A sewage treatment plant operator has been ordered to serve time in federal prison for not operating the facility at Niota, Tn., correctly and for lying to state inspectors about it.

Judge Sandy Mattice on Monday morning sentenced Donald Jack Clark to six months in prison and another six months of home confinement with an electronic monitoring device. He must also perform 150 hours of community service.

Prosecutor Matthew Morris had argued for a stiffer sentence, saying a message needed to be sent to other sewage plant operators not to endanger the public's health.

He said there was no evidence that anyone became ill due to the problems at the Niota plant, but he said the possibility was there.

Environmental inspector Angela Young of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation said the effluent at the plant was not treated with chlorine for a two-year period. She said there was no evidence that the sewage sludge was being hauled away as it should have been.

She said the chrlorine is necessary to kill e coli and other harmful substances in the water.

Ms. Young said the plant is on the tiny stream of Little North Mouse Creek. She said there had been complaints that the creek had a dark color.

The witness said Clark had reached the level of a class III operator and the state relied on him being honest in his reports. She said another operator at the plant turned in reports saying the plant was not meeting standards.

Clark told the judge, "I made a terrible mistake."

He operated the Niota plant in McMinn County for 17 years.     

The recommended sentencing range was 12-18 months.

 


PHOTOS: Smith Farm Sunflowers

The Smith Farm reveals some 20 acres or more of brilliant yellow sunflowers. The farm is on Ooltewah - Georgetown Road. (click for more)

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: AARON, DARREL DEON  2111 APPLING ST CHATTANOOGA, 37406  Age at Arrest: 38 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga FAILURE TO APPEAR --- BEARDEN, CADE A  2212 NORTH FORK DRIVE SODDY DAISY, 37379  Age at Arrest: 18 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County POSSESSION OF CONTROLLED ... (click for more)

Do Something To Protect Our Children

It is unconscionable in this day and age that these children had to exist in such deplorable conditions and that an innocent baby suffered and died alone in a locked car.  Yes, there is blame and accountability considering this family had child neglect charges filed a few years ago (that were apparently dropped and expunged) and a large part of the responsibility should ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Dear Friend Jake

Two weeks ago four of us piled in a car to go down to Canton, Ga., so we could tell Jake Butcher goodbye. Bob McKamey, former mayor Ron Littlefield, a dazzling guy named Steve Wilson, and myself. This would be the last time any of us would see Jake. It was a spectacular day and anyone who doesn’t believe in such goodbyes is missing out on the greatest moment in their life. It is ... (click for more)

Thompson, Bell Win Scenic City Scorcher Race

Saturday was another record-breaking day for runners in Chattanooga and we aren’t talking about the heat and humidity. It was the third-annual Scenic City Scorcher two-mile race held in flat and fast Heritage Landing where 48 of the 120 participants broke a Tennessee state record for their particular age. Christian Thompson was the overall winner for the second-straight year ... (click for more)

Three Chattanooga Lookout Pitchers Shut Out Mobile BayBears Saturday, 7-0

MOBILE, Ala. -- Fernando Romero, Randy LeBlanc and Raul Fernandez combined for a shutout as the Chattanooga Lookouts beat the Mobile BayBears 7-0 on Saturday. With the victory, the Lookouts move to 64-34 on the season. They lead the Southern League North division by six games in the second-half, but have already won the first-half title.  Fernando Romero (9-6) was provided ... (click for more)