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United States v. Dexter Corp.

Citation: 5 ELR 20041
No. No. 74-1135, 507 F.2d 1038/7 ERC 1348/(7th Cir., 12/16/1974)

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reverses a municipal sanitary district's conviction and $500 fine under the Refuse Act for allowing phenolic resin, atoxic industrial liquid, to be discharged into Lake Michigan. The resin was accidentally discharged from an industrial plant into the municipal sewer system during a rainstorm, and was diverted along with rain water runoff through a by-pass and released untreated into the Lake. The Refuse Act specifically exempts from its general prohibitory language discharges "flowing from streets and sewers and passing therefrom in a liquid state, into any navigable water," an exemption which clearly fits the facts of this case. The court points out that this exception has a rational basis since liquid discharges, free of solids in suspension, pose no significant hazard to navigation, and the elimination of such hazards was the central purpose of the statute.

Counsel for Plaintiff
James R. Thompson U.S. Attorney
U.S. Courthouse, Room 1500
219 S. Dearborn Street
Chicago, Ill. 60604

Counsel for Defendants
George B. Collins
Collins & Amos
1 N. LaSalle Street, Suite 3015
Chicago, Ill. 60602

Murray R. Conzelman
Conzelman, Schultz & Snarski
33 N. County Street
waukegan, Ill. 60085