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Ohio man accused of dumping brine pleads guilty

CLEVELAND (AP) — An Ohio man has changed his plea to guilty to a charge alleging he violated the Clean Water Act by repeatedly discharging gas-drilling wastewater into a storm sewer.

The U.S. Attorney in Cleveland Steven Dettelbach on Thursday announced that 34-year-old Michael P. Guesman admitted to illegally dumping brine and oil-based drilling mud into a sewer that empties into the Mahoning River watershed.

The Cortland man had pleaded not guilty in March to the charge in the federal indictment against him, a northeast Ohio business and its owner. Authorities allege the owner of Hardrock Excavating LLC, Ben Lupo, directed Guesman to illegally dump the wastewater.

Guesman's attorney didn't immediately return a request for comment.

The state revoked Hardrock's permits after some workers reported seeing the material being dumped.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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