Sioux City, Iowa — A Remsen man will serve prison time after he caused an improper discharge to a river as the maintenance manager at a Sioux Center packing plant.
The United States’ Attorney’s office says that 58-year-old Michael J. Wolf of Remsen pled guilty in December to one count of knowingly discharging a pollutant into a waterway of the United States. The discharge resulted in a fish kill. At the plea and sentencing hearings, the US Attorney’s Office says they presented evidence that on October 23 and 24, 2012, Wolf, while he was the maintenance manager at Sioux-Preme Packing, intentionally discharged biological materials and agricultural wastes from one of Sioux-Preme’s waste lagoons into a tributary of the West Branch of the Floyd River. They say the pollutants likely included blood, fecal material, animal guts, cleaning chemicals, etc.
They say the discharge lasted more than 11 hours. It fouled over 11 miles of river, downstream from the lagoon. The US Attorney’s Office also says the discharge killed over 190,000 fish of various species, valued at over $20,000; and caused the State of Iowa to expend more than $5,000 in response costs. One witness to the fish kill described watching fish jumping out of the water and racing around to avoid the deadly plume. They also say Wolf lied to members of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ Emergency Response team attempting to ameliorate the effects of the spill. According to the US Attorney’s Office, this delay likely worsened the effects of the spill.
Michael J. Wolf was sentenced in Sioux City by United States District Court Judge Mark W. Bennett for his violation of the Clean Water Act. He was sentenced to six weekends of imprisonment and a one-year term of probation. A special assessment of $100 was imposed.