Local portable outhouse company pleads guilty to unlawful disposal of wastewater
The Vallecitos Water District is reviewing federal charges against a San Marcos based provider of portable outhouses following a guilty plea to charges related to unlawful disposal of wastewater throughout Southern California. Diamond Environmental Services (Diamond) staff admitted in federal court in San Diego to conspiring to illegally discharge into municipal sewer lines the contents of hundreds of company trucks used to empty portable toilets.
The conspiracy began in 2009. As a regular company practice, trucks full of waste pumped from portable toilets were dumped into municipal sewers at the company’s various facilities, including in San Marcos, from 2012 to July 2016. By law, portable toilet wastewater is required to be discharged at specially designated facilities. Diamond’s facility in the county of San Diego is Pump Station #1 in Point Loma, where large volumes of wastewater discharged throughout the city mixes with the pumped waste to help dilute the wastewater entering the treatment plant.
It costs about $75 per 1,000 gallons to use the pump stations, meaning Diamond avoided paying $1.3 million to $4.1 million in fees by discharging the waste into sewer systems not prepared to accept the volume nor the type of waste. Two Diamond staff face a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine at their sentencing hearings, scheduled for August 28, 2017. Diamond has agreed to pay the sewer service providers up to $4.1 million in restitution. Vallecitos may pursue civil charges based on the results of the federal case in order to make Vallecitos rate payers whole.