DEP Shuts Two Firms in Dumping Case

Permit revoked for company accused of wastewater pollution

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
22 March 2011
By Don Hopey

The state Department of Environmental Protection on Monday ordered a Greene County wastewater hauling business and a wastewater treatment facility to shut down immediately, after a grand jury last week recommended criminal charges against the owner and one of the businesses for illegally dumping millions of gallons of gas well drilling water and municipal sludge.

The administrative orders, signed by Michael Forbeck, DEP regional manager for waste management, ordered the closing and revoked the permits for Allan's Waste Water Service Inc., and Tri-County Waste Water Service. The two businesses share an address in Waynesburg and share the same corporate officers, Robert Allan Shipman and Carolyn Shipman, his wife.

The grand jury recommended 175 criminal charges for illegal dumping against Mr. Shipman and his hauling business, which operated at least 16 tanker trucks and brought in $7 million a year.

The hauling service is the main customer for Tri-County, a wastewater treatment facility that has operated since 2007 and lists Mrs. Shipman as president and Mr. Shipman as secretary.

It was not named in the grand jury presentment, but the DEP suspended its operating permit because Mr. Shipman is, according to the order, directly involved in the day-to-day operations of both businesses.

"Those who violate the laws of the commonwealth and put our environment at risk are in jeopardy of losing their DEP permits," said Katy Gresh, a DEP spokeswoman.

One of the order's findings notes that the permit suspension is justified because Mr. Shipman has "shown a lack of ability or intention to comply" with provisions of the Clean Streams Law and the Solid Waste Management Act.

Neither Mr. Shipman nor his wife returned a call to their home requesting comment. Christopher Capozzi, attorney for Allan's Waste Water Service but not Tri-County, declined to comment.

The grand jury found that from 2003 to 2009, Mr. Shipman directed the illegal dumping of contaminated wastewater collected from Marcellus Shale and shallow gas wells, municipal sewage treatment plants and restaurants. The liquid waste was dumped on the ground or into streams, sometimes after dark or during heavy rain storms to mask the illegal activity.

A preliminary hearing for Mr. Shipman on the grand jury charges is scheduled for June 6 and 7.

Don Hopey: or 412-263-1983.