Delta Sonic employee pleads guilty to lying to state DEC technician about oil spill in Cayuga Creek

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The former environmental compliance officer for Delta Sonic Car Wash Systems has pleaded guilty to lying to a a DEC environmental programs technician about an oil spill in Cayuga Creek in Niagara Falls. 

Michael Yount, 46, of Lancaster, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to making a materially false statement. 

According to the assistant U.S. attorney handling the case, in July 2016, the NYSDEC responded to an oil spill in Cayuga Creek involving between 300 and 500 gallons of oil. 

The DEC technician began looking into sources of the discharge and whether a violation of the Clean Water Act had occurred.The technician contacted Yount at Delta Sonic, which has a location on Niagara Falls Boulevard. 

“During a meeting at the Delta Sonic location on Niagara Falls Boulevard, the Technician learned that Delta Sonic was renovating the oil change and lube shop garage, which involved the removal of concrete floors by a subcontractor,” a press release from the court said. “At that time, Yount stated that there had not been any problems except for a minor spill of approximately two gallons of oil which was immediately cleaned up. “

The technician returned to Delta Sonic the next day and saw an absorbent boom with oil on it in a storm sewer receiver located in the parking lot outside of the oil change garage. While the technician was looking into the storm sewer receiver, Yount sought to mislead the technician by stating that the booms were often left in sewers. He also said that the boom in question had been placed in the receiver about six days earlier. 

The boom had been placed in the storm sewer receiver as a result of a complaint by another Delta Sonic employee that oily wastewater was being pumped into it as a result of the renovation of the Delta Sonic oil change and lube shop garage.

Fount faces a maximum of five years and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced Aug. 23. 

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