John “Rusty” Miller, 54, operates a sewage treatment plant at the Miller’s Crossing Gated Community in Blanchard, La. Miller is alleged to have knowingly violated the Louisiana Water Control Law for repeatedly discharging untreated sewage from lift stations and the Miller’s Crossing Gated Community sewage treatment system into the waters of the state in Caddo Parish.
On Aug. 14, criminal investigators with DEQ’s Criminal Investigation Division obtained a warrant for Miller’s arrest. DEQ-CID personnel worked with the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Caddo Parish District Attorney’s Office and the San Diego County Sheriff’s Office to locate Miller.
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals and Public Service Commission also aided DEQ-CID.
Miller was located near his residence in San Diego and arrested. He was booked in the San Diego County jail and currently awaits extradition and transport to Caddo Parish to face the charges alleged in the arrest warrant.
This arrest is the latest in a series of successful prosecutions of sewage treatment operators for similar crimes including Jeffrey Pruett in Ouachita Parish, Marios Papadopoulos in Ouachita Parish and Joseph L. Jones in Evangeline Parish.
“The waters of Louisiana are among our state’s most important natural resources and their continued protection is vital concern to the citizens and DEQ.” said Jeffrey Nolan, Manager of DEQ-CID. “DEQ-CID will continue to investigate and seek criminal prosecution of owners or operators of sewage treatment systems who knowingly violate the law.”
Violations of Louisiana Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, upon conviction, can result in a fine of not less than $5,000, but no more than $50,000 per day of violation, or imprisonment for not more than three years, with or without hard labor, or both per count. Miller also faces civil penalties for similar violations of LDEQ regulations.
The mission of the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality is to protect the environment and public health. Any persons with knowledge of any spills, releases, odors, fish kills, open burning, waste tires and any other types of environmental incidents may contact the department at 225-219-3640 or Toll Free 1-888-763-5424.
An arrest does not constitute guilt in a criminal case and all subjects are presumed innocent. All evidence compiled during the investigation is presented to the area prosecutors who determine if formal charges are warranted.