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Guilty plea in water pollution case
The State, 25th May 2011

A Batesburg-Leesville construction company owner has pleaded guilty to a violation of the U.S. Clean Water Act that involved 4 million gallons of industrial waste water.

John Ashley Mabus, 44, of Mabus Brothers Construction Co., Inc., made the plea Tuesday in federal court in Columbia. The case presented by the U.S. Attorney's Office accused Mabus of allowing the contamination of a creek while his company worked in North Augusta.

The crew was digging a ditch for a sewer line near the Clearwater Finishing Industrial Facility when water from a heavy-metal-contaminated lagoon started coming into the ditch. Mabus told his workers to pump the water from the lagoon into Little Horse Creek. Over a three-day period, 4 million gallons of contaminated water and sludge was pumped into the Savannah River tributary.

Mabus faces a $25,000-per-day fine for the three days and/or a one-year prison sentence, and a special assessment of $25.