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VA Company Pleads to Dumping Gallons of Polluted Water into River

Courtesy: The Elizabeth River Project

Courtesy: The Elizabeth River Project

A Virginia company and its president have pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Water Act for discharging 500,000 gallons of polluted water into the Elizabeth River.

Marine Environmental Services, Inc. and Jerry Askew of Portsmouth pleaded guilty Monday to knowingly discharging pollutants. Askew's company had been cleaning a decommissioned tanker in 2005 that had 2.1 million gallons of water polluted by oil, grease and bacteria when the water was discharged.

MES faces a maximum penalty of five years of probation and a $500,000 fine. Askew faces a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a fine of $100,000.

They will be sentenced August 24.

As part of its plea, MES has agreed to invest $50,000 in community service projects that benefit the Elizabeth River watershed.

©2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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