On January 8, 2018, Dean Poe, vice president of oil and gas sales at Santa Clara Waste Water Company (SCWWC), was sentenced in the Superior Court of California, Ventura. Poe was ordered to serve 4 months in custody and 36 months of probation for his role in an explosion on November 18, 2014, at the SCWWC facility in Santa Paula, California. He was also ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and victim restitution in an amount to be determined by the court. Under the terms and conditions of his probation, Poe is prohibited from employment in several capacities, including the collection of laboratory samples to be used for waste testing and the transportation of hazardous waste.
In June 2014, Poe provided samples from SCWWC to a local environmental laboratory for testing. In July 2014, laboratory personnel told Poe that their chemical analysis indicated the samples were hazardous waste. He failed to take any corrective action at SCWWC and did not report this information to regulatory authorities. On March 24, 2017, Poe pled guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to dispose of hazardous waste.
DOT-OIG conducted this investigation jointly with EPA-CID and the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office, which prosecuted the case with the California Attorney General’s Office.