December 23, 2013
Former Sewage Treatment Plant Superintendent Sent to Prison for Environmental, Larceny Charges
A Waterbury man was sentenced today to serve four years in prison for violating environmental and other laws while he was superintendent of the Town of Plainville’s wastewater treatment plant.
Kenneth A. Michelson, age 54, of 227 Chestnut Hill Ave., Waterbury, pled guilty to 19 felony counts, including five counts of Larceny in the First Degree, three counts of Tampering with Evidence, two counts of Forgery in the Second Degree, two counts of Tampering with a Witness, two counts of Causing Pollution to the Waters of Connecticut, four counts of making false statements to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and one count of Larceny in the Second Degree.
Michelson was sentenced today in New Britain Superior Court by Judge Arthur C. Hadden to 10 years in prison, execution suspended after 4 years served, to be followed by 5 years probation. He was also ordered to make restitution and prohibited from being employed in the waste water treatment industry.
According to court records, the charges stemmed from Michelson’s theft of roofing materials and contractor services purchased with town funds and used at houses he owned, as well as tampering with alarms at the Plainville wastewater treatment plant, which caused sewage discharges into the Pequabuck River on more than one occasion.
Michelson, who was superintendent of the wastewater treatment plant, was accused of fabricating evidence to cover up the crimes and threatening town employees to either deny or lie to police about his actions and the sewage spills they witnessed and were required to clean up, court records show.
The matter was prosecuted by the Environmental Crimes Unit in the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney following a lengthy investigation by the Plainville Police Department and the DEEP Bureau of Water Management and Enforcement.
“Today’s sentencing sends a clear message to environmental polluters that their actions to blatantly ignore environmental laws and regulations are taken seriously in the state of Connecticut and will have real consequences,” said Daniel C. Esty, Commissioner of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. “Mr. Michelson’s decision to falsify records and discharge untreated waste into the waters of Connecticut, in violation of the Clean Water Act, is inexcusable and cannot be tolerated in our state.”
Chief State’s Attorney Kevin T. Kane expressed his appreciation to the DEEP and the Plainville Police Department for their work on the investigation.