August 28, 2017
Idaho Man Pleads Guilty To Violating the Clean Water Act
On August 28, 2017, James Findlay, former owner and operator of Sawtooth Fusion, LLC (Sawtooth), Meridian, Idaho, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court, Boise, Idaho, to violations of the Clean Water Act. Sawtooth was a medical research company that Findlay operated out of his apartment.
Between 2012 and 2014, Findlay obtained and stored quantities of depleted uranium and uranium powder. He purchased and transported depleted uranium from an aircraft salvage company in large blocks, with a combined weight of approximately 50 pounds. He chemically extracted uranium through a process that included soaking it in muriatic acid. At the end of the chemical process, Findlay discharged some of the materials into a sink in his apartment and into the Boise sewer system. At no time did Boise Public Works authorize, permit, or approve Findlay's discharge of the materials into the sewer system.
DOT-OIG conducted this investigation jointly with the Environmental Protection Agency's Criminal Investigation Division and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Office of Investigations.