Utility Workers Union Launches Website Detailing Indictment of United Water Services for Alleged Environmental Crimes

Mar 29, 2011, 06:30 ET from Utility Workers Union of America

WASHINGTON, March 29, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Utility Workers Union of America has launched a website providing details about a criminal indictment recently issued by a U.S. federal grand jury against United Water Services. The UWUA will update the site – www.UnitedWaterIndictment.net – frequently to add additional news concerning United Water, a for-profit U.S. water and wastewater services company owned by French multinational Suez Environnement.

"This website is designed as a source of independent news and research concerning United Water, starting with the ongoing criminal prosecution of the company for alleged environmental felonies in Indiana," stated John Duffy, UWUA National Vice President.

On December 8, 2010, a federal grand jury issued an indictment charging that United Water and two of its managers tampered with E. coli bacteria monitoring tests at a Gary, Indiana wastewater treatment plant between 2003 and 2008. Prosecutors allege that United Water manipulated the monitoring results as part of a scheme to reduce its costs for purchasing chlorine, which is used as a disinfectant before the plant discharges treated sewage into a public waterway near Chicago.

United Water and the two managers have pleaded not guilty, and a trial has not yet been

scheduled in the case.

The UWUA has criticized public statements by top management of the company seeking to minimize the seriousness of the charges. In a press release issued the same day as the indictment, United Water President Robert Iacullo stated that "the government's claim is, at best, a disagreement about operating and monitoring methods, with no allegation of environmental harm."

"We are astonished by United Water's claim that this indictment involves a 'disagreement about operating and monitoring methods,'" stated Duffy. "United Water stands accused of tampering with E. coli monitoring reports over a five year period – for wastewater discharges into a major urban area – merely to boost its profits." If convicted, the two indicted managers could face decades in prison, and the company subjected to a significant fine, probation, or both.

The UWUA website includes copies of the indictment, press releases from both United Water and the U.S. Department of Justice, and additional information concerning the case. The site also includes a feature allowing the public to send news tips to the UWUA concerning United Water, for potential follow-up research and addition to the site.

The Utility Workers Union of America represents working men and women in the utility and related industries throughout the U.S., including United Water employees in Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. UWUA members are committed to promoting the highest quality and safest utility services possible. We believe that utility companies that treat the communities and customers they serve with respect, consideration, and the highest ethical and legal standards will also treat employees fairly.

SOURCE Utility Workers Union of America