Former PWSA Supervisor Pleads Guilty to Violating the Clean Water Act

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

PITTSBURGH – A resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiring to violate the Clean Water Act, United States Attorney Cindy K. Chung announced today.

Glenn Lijewski, 71, of the City’s Brookline neighborhood, pleaded guilty to one count before United States District Judge William S. Stickman, IV.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Lijewski was the supervisor at the Aspinwall Drinking Water Plant, which is operated by the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (“PWSA”). Between 2010 and 2017, Lijewski and another supervisor at the plant discharged clarifier sludge directly into Allegheny River in violation of a federal permit. Lijewski also directed PWSA employees to discharge sludge into the river. Lijewski also admitted to submitting reports containing false information about the amount of sludge it was to sending to ALCOSAN’s waste treatment plant. Under the terms of an industrial user permit, the Aspinwall plant was permitted to send up to one million of sludge per day to the waste treatment facility. At one point, three of the five sludge flow monitors broke. Lijewski and others at the plant began using estimated sludge-flow figures. This information, in turn, was included in reports PWSA was required to submit to ALCOSAN pursuant to the industrial user permit. Sludge is generated during the process by which raw water is transformed into potable drinking water and consists of solid material removed from the water through the use of chemicals and sedimentation. Over time, an island formed in the river at the point where the discharges were taking place. According to the indictment, a number of employees at the plant referred to the buildup as “Glenn’s Island.”

Judge Stickman scheduled sentencing for August 16, 2022, at 1:30 pm. The law provides for a total sentence of 5 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Pending sentencing, the court continued Lijewski’s bond.

Assistant United States Attorney Michael Leo Ivory and Special Assistant Martin Harrell are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Environmental Protection Agency – Criminal Investigation Division conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Lijewski.