Fugitive Polluter Gets Maximum Jail Time for Criminal, Environmental Violations
Larkin Baggett, 54, formerly of Salt Lake City, Utah, was sentenced to 20 years in the U.S. District Court in Key West, Fla., jail for illegally dumping pollutants in violation of federal clean water and hazardous waste regulations and for illegally possessing firearms and aggravated assault on law enforcement officers, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice announced last week. The sentence includes the maximum jail term for the Clean Water Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act violations. Last March, Baggett assaulted EPA and other law enforcement officers when they attempted to arrest him in Marathon, Fla.
In September 2007, Baggett was indicted on charges related to illegally dumping various pollutants onto the ground and into a drain that led to the treatment plant operated by the South Davis Sewer Improvement District in West Bountiful, Utah, between October 2004 and April 2005. The treatment plant had a permit to discharge treated effluent to the Jordan River, which empties into the Great Salt Lake. Baggett owned and operated Chemical Consultants Inc. in North Salt Lake City, a company that mixed and sold chemical products used in the trucking, construction, and concrete industries.
According to court records, Baggett instructed his employees to dispose of industrial wastes by dumping them onto the ground and into a sanitary sewer drain, which fed directly to the wastewater treatment plant. One of the wastes, nonylphenol, is a powerful organic chemical and heavy-duty industrial cleaner that is toxic to aquatic life. Baggett’s actions allegedly caused the plant to violate permit limits for acute toxicity 22 times.
Previously, government officials from the local sewer district prohibited Baggett’s company from discharging to the sewer system because its wastes had routinely exceeded limits for certain pollutants.
In April 2008, two months before his trial, Baggett became a fugitive when he failed to appear in court, as required by the conditions of his release and bond. In December 2008, EPA received a tip from the public regarding his potential whereabouts after Baggett was listed on the EPA’s fugitive Web site (www.epa.gov/fugitives). More information on the case is available at www.epa.gov/fugitives/fugitives-captured.html.