Mount Rainier (Wikimedia Commons photo by Stan Shebs)
“A waste treatment operator at Mount Rainier National Park pleaded guilty Friday to dumping 200,000 gallons of sewage over a waterfall and into the Nisqually River, in violation of the federal Clean Water Act.
James Barber, 52, of Yelm, entered the plea in U.S. District Court in Tacoma, said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.
According to court records, Barber worked as an operator of the wastewater treatment plant at Paradise, which is designed to provide advanced secondary treatment of sewage generated at the Paradise Visitor Center before it is discharged into a waterfall that flows into the Nisqually River.
But in his plea agreement, Barber admitted that during spring and summer 2011, he failed to stop the build-up of solid waste in the treatment plant, which clogged filters and disabled the advanced treatment portion of the plant.
Instead of fixing the problem, Barber used a bypass around the advanced treatment section of the plant, allowing minimally treated sewage to be dumped directly into the the waterfall and river, according to court records.”
“He is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. Magistrate Judge J. Richard Creatura on Dec. 14,” quoting KOMO-TV 4 in Seattle.