Bozeman men sentenced in USA Brass lead-contamination case
Two Bozeman men were sentenced in U.S. District Court this week for illegally discharging lead-contaminated water into a public sewer system, according to U.S. Attorney Kurt G. Alme.
On Thursday, Chief U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen sentenced Zachary Daniel Flanagan, 27, of Bozeman, to five years of probation and imposed a $50,000 fine.
“The defendants violated the city’s wastewater pretreatment program when they discharged lead contaminated wastewater into the public sewer system,” said Jeffrey Martinez, special agent in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigative Division in Montana.
The casings were placed in cement mixers where they were cleaned in a water and vinegar solution.
In November 2013, Flanagan contacted by email Dustin Johnson, the pretreatment coordinator of the Bozeman wastewater facility, to try to get permission for USA Brass to discharge lead wastewater into the city sewer system.
Flanagan followed up the request in December with another email to Johnson seeking approval to dispose the wastewater through the sewer and told him that an environmental analyst who reviewed the lab results said it would be fine to send the wastewater down the sewer.
On the same day in December, Johnson responded to Flanagan’s email and, based on Flanagan’s false statements, authorized the discharge of the lead wastewater into the sewer system.
When Johnson learned that Flanagan had provided him false information, he told investigators he would never have granted the company permission to discharge the wastewater.
The investigation also found that in September 2013, USA Brass installed a sink in the facility to dispose of the lead wastewater into the city sewer system.
Flanagan and Schimpf were present on more than one occasion as the wastewater was being pumped down the sink but neither stopped the discharge or sought permission for the discharge.