Gouverneur man charged with falsifying data and causing the discharge of polluted water from paper mill in Norfolk
Wednesday, June 21, 2017 - 6:07 am

GOUVERNEUR — A Gouverneur man was indicted Tuesday in federal court in Syracuse for allegedly violating the Clean Water Act

Michael J. Ward, 54, of Gouverneur, is charged with six felony counts of violating the Clean Water Act, announced United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian, Vernesa Jones-Allen, Special Agent in Charge, Environmental Protection Agency-Criminal Investigation Division (“EPA-CID”), New York Area Office, and Director Joe Schneider, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Law Enforcement.

The indictment charges Ward with one count of discharging polluted water into the Raquette River between January 2013 and September 2015, while Ward worked at a paper mill in Norfolk.

Ward is alleged to have falsified data as to the amount of biochemical oxygen demand (“BOD”) in the paper mill’s wastewater.

The indictment against Ward also alleges five counts of falsifying monthly reports to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation regarding the paper mill’s wastewater discharges.

Ward appeared before United States Magistrate Judge Thérèse Wiley Dancks in Syracuse, and was released pending a trial scheduled for Aug. 14.

The charges filed against Ward carry a maximum sentence of up to three years in prison, a fine of up to $800,000, and a term of supervised release of up to one year.

A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, and other factors.

The charges in the indictment are merely accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

This case is being investigated by EPA-CID and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Law Enforcement, and it is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael F. Perry.