Salt Lake City, UT – The
Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office filed felony criminal charges
Thursday in 3rd District Court alleging Water Quality Act violations by William
Ashton and William Brent Baker and the companies Owell Precast, LLC and L&B
Resources, LLC. The attached charging documents outline the allegations
of environmental crimes against the defendants.
specifically set forth in the attached Statement of Probable Cause, it
is alleged that the defendants have been illegally disposing of waste for years.
According to witnesses, on at least one occasion, three cement trucks were
observed washing their cement chutes and mixer openings, allowing the mixture
to flow down the apron of an artificial platform into the area directly
adjacent to the Jordan River. To one witness, it appeared defendant Owell
Precast, LLC was “bulking-up” the apron of the artificial platform with
concrete mix, concrete chunks and solid waste including broken pallets, drums
and rubber tubing. An employee of Owell Precast, LLC was advised that
what the company was doing was a violation and was ordered to cease and desist.
though the defendant company had been notified they were allegedly violating
the law, witnesses reported that the defendant companies continued to violate the
Water Quality Act.
time after the above referenced observations, witnesses reported seeing fresh
fill on the apron of the artificial platform. Witnesses compared photos
taken the week before with the then existing conditions and saw new material
discarded. In addition, a witness observed pools of fine concrete mix
dispersing as much as 30 to 40 feet into the areas that are directly adjacent
to the Jordan River.
defendants have been charged with two Third Degree Felonies. Each Third
Degree Felony against Mr. Ashton and Mr. Baker is punishable by a maximum
prison sentence not to exceed five years and a fine not to exceed $50,000.00
per day of violation, and against each company as a fine not to exceed
$50,000.00 per day of violation.
Lake County District Attorney’s Office expresses it appreciation to local law
enforcement personnel and the Salt Lake County Health Dept., the Environmental
Protection Agency, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and the Environmental Crimes
Task Force for their collaborative efforts and significant work during the
investigation of these matters. The Environmental Crimes Task Force
provides important environmental enforcement and education efforts. These
criminal charges and the allegations set forth therein are the result of an
ongoing effort in collaboration with multiple partners to address the issues of
environmental degradation and abuse in our community.
persons accused of a crime are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty
in a court of law.
attachment below for full release, including the additional, referenced documents.