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.

 


Representative Tom Graves Honors Fallen Georgia Hero On House Floor

Representative Tom Graves spoke on the House floor on Wednesday in honor of Navy Petty Officer Second Class Randall Smith, who was killed in the terrorist attack in Chattanooga on July 16.  A transcript of Rep. Graves’ remarks is below.  "Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith, who was killed on July 16th during the terrorist ... (click for more)

Middle-Of-The-Night Fracas On South Dent Lands Drunken Couple In Jail

A Middle Valley man and the Benton, Tn., woman charged with trying to help him resist arrest now have something new in common: twin arrests, and upcoming court appearances.   The incident began around  3 a.m.  las Saturday, when a Hamilton County Sheriff’s deputy on patrol encountered a green Chevy truck stopped on the road in the 7300 block ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Strong

The hearts, minds and prayers of Tennesseans, and of the entire nation, have been turned toward Chattanooga this month.  We are sickened and saddened by the senseless tragedy, and we grieve for the families of the five service members who were killed, Gunnery Sgt. Thomas J. Sullivan, Sgt. Carson A. Holmquist, Lance Cpl. Squire “Skip” K. Wells, Staff Sgt. David A. Wyatt and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Dr. Palmer, You’re Toast

America is absolutely furious! By 3 o’clock yesterday afternoon there were 36,000 people who had petitioned the White House to extradite Walter Palmer, who is today the most despised man in all of North America. On the Yelp.com website, that promotes his dentistry business in Eden Prairie, Minn, over 6,000 had posted violent, vulgar and vicious notes and, for the record, 60 of them ... (click for more)

Robert Powderly Still Active After All Of These Years

It didn’t take long for Robert Powderly to get fully involved in the running boom back in the late 70s. Millions of Americans joined the parade back in those days where running was their main source of physical fitness and Powderly was a big part of it. Powderly is now 68 and retired from U.S. Pipe where he worked in the accounting department.   He’s also had a couple ... (click for more)

Owls, Eagles Look Back Differently At 2014 Showdown

For the first time since they played in the second round of the 2014 Class AAA state football playoffs, a few Ooltewah and Rhea County players were together Wednesday at the Region 4-5A media day at The Bridge in Ooltewah. The Owls and Eagles, obviously, have polar-opposite thoughts on last year’s second round game in Evensville on a brutally cold Friday night. That’s because ... (click for more)