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US prosecutors charge Ohio man with ordering drilling waste dumped into storm sewer

Prosecutors are charging a northeast Ohio man with violating the federal Clean Water Act, saying he told an employee to dump gas-drilling wastewater into a storm sewer.

The U.S. Attorney's Office announced the charge Thursday against 62-year-old Ben Lupo of Poland, near Youngstown. He pleaded not guilty.

Lupo owns Hardrock Excavating LLC. He faces up to three years in prison, a $250,000 fine and a year of supervised release if convicted.

Authorities allege Lupo on Jan. 31 directed that at least 20,000 gallons of drilling mud and brine be discharged into a sewer that empties into the Mahoning River watershed.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources revoked the permits of Hardrock, a brine hauler, and D&L Energy after workers at the companies' Youngstown headquarters reported seeing the material being dumped.

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