SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Jeremiah Young, 38, of El Dorado, pleaded guilty today to unlawful discharge of industrial wastewater, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.
Young was an assistant operator for Community Fuels from 2014 to 2016. Community Fuels is registered in San Joaquin County by American Biodiesel Inc. and manufactured biodiesel fuel on property leased from the Port of Stockton
According to court documents, Young participated in a scheme to discharge hundreds of thousands of gallons of polluted wastewater by various unlawful means, including the discharge of wastewater directly into Stockton’s sewer system after tampering with pH readings. Young also caused a discharge on a different date by using an improvised hose system into a floor drain that led to the city’s sewer system.
Young’s older brother and co-defendant, Christopher Young, 41, of El Dorado Hills, was charged with conspiracy, 12 counts of tampering with monitoring equipment, two counts of unlawful discharge of industrial wastewater, one count of false statements, and one count of witness tampering. Christopher Young was the Director of Operations at the Stockton plant. The charges against him are pending; he is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
On July 8, 2019, U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller sentenced American Biodiesel for violations of the Clean Water Act when it allowed the discharge of industrial wastewater into the City of Stockton sewer system. American Biodiesel admitted to tampering with monitoring devices and methods designed to detect such violations, and admitted that employees tampered with pH recordings and flow meters for the purpose of underreporting acid and pollutant levels and volumes that would have exceeded the figures allowed under the city’s regulations.
This case is the product of an investigation by the EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office, City of Stockton Municipal Utilities Department, San Joaquin County Environmental Health Department, Port of Stockton, and California Department of Toxic Substances Control. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Philip A. Scarborough and Paul Hemesath are prosecuting the case.
Young is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Mueller on April 27. He faces a maximum statutory penalty of three years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 or more if the court finds that the offense resulted in a pecuniary loss. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.