The operator of a San Marcos-based provider of portable outhouses faces possible prison time and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines following his guilty plea to charges related to unlawful disposal of wastewater throughout Southern California, authorities said Friday.
Arie Eric De Jong III, owner of Diamond Environmental Services, admitted Thursday in federal court in San Diego to conspiring with the company’s chief operating officer, Warren L. Van Dam, to illegally discharge into municipal sewer lines the contents of hundreds of company trucks used to empty portable toilets.
Van Dam, 50, pleaded guilty last week to similar criminal counts involving the offenses, which occurred between 2009 and August of last year, according to prosecutors.
The two San Marcos residents admitted that as a regular company practice, DES for years unlawfully discharged human waste into the municipal sewer at its facilities in San Diego, San Marcos, Perris, Fullerton and Huntington Park.
De Jong, also 50, and Van Dam admitted that they directed the firm’s maintenance employees to design, purchase and install the pumps, grinders and settling tanks used to illegally pump waste into sewer lines at the Diamond locations.
De Jong acknowledged that he directed a contractor to install connections to sewer lines at the company’s facilities in San Marcos and San Diego. Those hookups were unknown to the municipal sewer districts and were used to discharge the trucked waste into sewers, court documents state.
The company admitted that employees concealed the existence of the illicit sewer connections from inspectors by placing a portable toilet over the connections during inspections.
The defendants also conceded that Van Dam falsely understated the volume of wastewater that would be discharged per day at Diamond facilities in San Diego and Perris to the San Diego Metropolitan Industrial Waste Control Program and the Eastern Municipal Water District, respectively.
On four days in June 2016, DES employees dumped the contents of 15 to 19 900-gallon-capacity trucks of portable toilet waste each day into the sewer at the Diamond location in San Diego.
De Jong and Van Dam each will face a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine at their sentencing hearings, scheduled for Aug. 28.
The company also agreed to forfeit $1.3 to $4.1 million in proceeds from the illegal activity.
Additionally, a manager for De Jong’s company is charged with perjury in connection with his testimony before a grand jury during the investigation of Diamond’s illicit dumping.
Ronald Fabor, 49, allegedly lied when stating that he first learned of the firm’s dumping during the execution of a search warrant at the facility last August, and also when he stated he had never seen DES trucks connected to hoses discharging their contents into sewers at the facilities.
The San Marcos resident is slated to appear for a motions hearing in the case June 19.
–City News Service
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