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Boise man sentenced for Clean Water Act violation

A Boise man will spend a year on probation after pleading guilty to dumping acid into his apartment sink, according to U.S. Attorney Bart Davis.

James Findlay,22, of Boise pleaded guilty August 28 to unlawfully discharging waste into the Boise sewage system between April 2012 and October 2014.

In a plea agreement, Findlay said he operated an entity called Sawtooth Fusion, LLC out of his rental apartment. He obtained and stored quantities of depleted uranium and uranium powder, including some large chunks of depleted uranium from an aircraft salvage company.

In his apartment, Findlay chemically extracted uranium from various items by soaking them in muriatic acid. At the end of the process, he discharged the materials and acid mixture into his apartment sink.

Because of their low pH and corrosive properties, the materials violated Boise’s sewage system’s EPA-approved requirements and, as a result, the federal Clean Water Act.

Findlay’s action required a significant governmental response to address potential public safety concerns. Fortunately, no widespread danger to the community was discovered.

“This case shows that EPA, along with our law enforcement partners, will vigorously pursue criminal behavior in order to protect our communities,” said Jeanne Proctor, Special Agent in Charge of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division in the Pacific Northwest.

The case was investigated by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Transportation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Boise Fire Department and Boise Police were the first responders to the apartment complex where Findlay’s activities were discovered.

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