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.

 



Get Emailed Headlines From Chattanoogan.com; Like Us On Facebook, Twitter For Instant News

We send out headlines each day of the latest Chattanooga news.  Our news headlines have links that take you to the stories with a click. We also send out special emails if there is a highly significant local news story breaking so you will be aware of it quickly. To be added to the email headline list, just email us at news@chattanoogan.com In addition, like us ... (click for more)

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ADKINS, TRAVIS VAN  446 MCDONALD DR ROSSVILLE, 30741  Age at Arrest: 38 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County UNL. CARRYING OR POSSESSING WEAPON THEFT OF PROPERTY POSSESSION OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA VIOLATION OF PROBATION (POSSESSION OF CONTROLLED S --- ANDREWS, TRAMESHA LASHON  ... (click for more)

Titans Hide In The Locker Room

This Sunday, as has been widely reported, the Tennessee Titans and the Seattle Seahawks both chose to remain in their respective locker rooms during the playing of the National Anthem at Nissan Stadium.  Besides the fact that the NFL game operations manual has a rule regarding player behavior during the playing of the National Anthem which requires them to stand at attention ... (click for more)

Roy Exum - Why Al Took A Stand

“Help me, sir!” 18-year-old Jesse Dietrich cried to his lieutenant. “Please sir, I need help …” the Private First Class begged as blood streamed from where the kid had been shot in the chest during an intense Taliban ambush. The platoon leader had just dragged the 18-year-old by his backpack down a dark alley in withering gunfire, all the while returning fire over the fallen soldier ... (click for more)

GPS Rally Clips Cleveland On Senior Night

They celebrated Senior Night at GPS on Monday and the Bruisers made everyone happy with a tough, come-from-behind non-district volleyball win over Cleveland, but GPS coach Alfie Dodd wasn’t happy. “They say that a win is a win, but I don’t always agree with that,” he said after his girls had prevailed inn five sets over a really good group of Lady Blue Raiders. “We won the ... (click for more)

Testy Jones: Media Negativity "Sometimes Overwhelming"

Things got testy toward the end of Tennessee football coach Butch Jones’ weekly Monday press conference. Early in the “presser,” Jones suggested the media was too interested in drama surrounding his program when he answered a question pertaining to why injured wide receiver Jauan Jennings, who is out for the season, hadn’t been on the sideline in any of the three games he’s ... (click for more)