Developer fined $3 million for Clean Water Act violation
SAN JUAN – U.S. District Judge Carmen Consuelo sentenced Mora Development Corp. to pay a $3 million fine, serve a five-year term of probation and “make restitution to a family whose children were affected by the criminal conduct,” and that Cleofe Rubi “personally guarantee payment of all financial obligations imposed on the company,” according to a release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Mora Development previously pled guilty to a violation of the Clean Water Act, for discharging sanitary wastewater without a permit from residences at Las Cascadas II Development in Toa Alta, Puerto Rico, from a holding tank through a by-pass pipe into the Toa Alta Municipal stormwater system and then into Quilan Creek, which flows into La Plata River, which serves about 80,000 people.
“Today’s sentence should serve as a deterrent to those who consider discharging waste water into our creeks,” said Rosa E. Rodríguez, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico.
“Mora Development Corporation knowingly cut corners to save money by discharging raw sewage into the La Plata River without proper treatment in violation of the Clean Water Act,” said Tyler Amon, special agent-in-charge of Criminal Investigation Division for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 2 office in New York. “The scheme to hide an illegal sewage system is a short-sighted business decision that put the community’s health and environment at risk.”
The government presented evidence that before properly connecting with the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority, Mora discharged more than 29 million gallons of sewage into the municipal stormwater system and into Quilan Creek.
Former project Manager José Merino also pled guilty and was sentenced to six months’ probation.