The owner of a northwestern Indiana company must pay $200,000 in fines and restitution for illegally dumping grease into the city of Hammond’s sewer system. U.S. District Judge Philip Simon also sentenced NH Environmental’s owner, Ronald Holmes, to four years of probation and 100 hours of community service. “I view this as serious, but I’ve given you a lot of consideration,” Simon told Holmes during Friday’s sentencing hearing.
Holmes must pay a $30,000 fine, and NH Environmental, which was doing business as Tierra Environmental, must pay a $70,000 fine and a $100,00 restitution to the city of Hammond and the Hammond Sanitary District.
Holmes and his East Chicago company pleaded guilty last year to felony and misdemeanor pollution discharge for dumping waste, mostly grease, from local restaurants into the sewer. He also did not pay the proper city fees and failed to file monthly reports.
Holmes’ lawyer claims Holmes thought his company had a valid waste discharge permit, but it had expired. An attorney with the Department of Justice’s Environmental Crimes Division argued that Holmes, who has worked in the waste industry for decades, should know from experience the permit wasn’t his to use.
Holmes apologized for his actions Friday, saying, “the stress, anguish and embarrassment are a terrible burden to bear.”