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Ex-Cargill Manager Given 5 Years

August 16, 2002

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ST. LOUIS (AP) _ A former Cargill Pork Inc. farm manager was sentenced Friday to five months in prison on federal charges that he knowingly allowed the illegal dumping of hog waste into a tributary of the Missouri River.

U.S. District Judge Jean Hamilton also ordered Duane W. Connor, 40, now living in Iowa, to spend five months of house arrest after his prison term.

Connor pleaded guilty in May to a felony count of violating the federal Clean Water Act while managing the Cargill Pork hog farm near Martinsburg, where authorities said the July 2000 illegal dumping spoiled part of the Loutre River and killed more than 53,000 fish.

Martinsburg is about 75 miles northwest of St. Louis.

In February, Cargill Pork _ a division of Minnetonka, Minn.-based Cargill Inc. _ agreed to pay a $1 million fine and $51,779 in restitution for also violating the Clean Water Act and making a false statement.

Over a five-day period in July 2000, the government said, Cargill Pork illegally dumped through valves and holding ponds at its 17,000-pig farm an unspecified amount of hog waste that contaminated about five miles of the Loutre in east-central Missouri.

The government blamed the discharge, unreported to the state Department of Natural Resources, on the company’s failure to properly run certain waste-management equipment.

Federal prosecutors have said Cargill has spent $500,000 in ``remediation costs″ associated with the dumping, which Cargill spokesman Mark Klein said Friday was ``uncharacteristic of Cargill Pork’s environmental record.″

After the dumping surfaced, Klein said, Cargill Pork swiftly ``marshaled the resources to go in and essentially scrape up the intermittently flowing Loutre River, then flush it out.″

Cargill’s restitution was to cover the state’s cost of investigating and dealing with the dumping.

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