LAWRENCE, Kan. - The owner of MagnaGro International has a history of trouble with the federal government for illegally discharging chemicals into the Lawrence sewer system.
In 2008, Raymond Sawyer pleaded guilty to federal charges that his company violated the Clean Water Act. He faced three years in federal prison. He was eventually sentenced to five years probation.
Indictments focused on two incidents, according to a Justice Department news release:
"In 2001, Sawyer and MagnaGro discharged a large quantity of industrial waste into the
On Sept. 17, 2007, agents from the federal Environmental Protection Agency - Criminal Investigation Division served a search warrant at MagnaGro. They determined that Sawyer was discharging waste from MagnaGro’s fertilizer production directly into the city’s sewer system. Sawyer had been pumping water from a waste pit surrounding the fertilizer mixing vat. The waste was pumped through a hose and into a toilet stool at the MagnaGro facility."
NBC Action News Investigator Keith King reached Sawyer by phone Thursday afternoon after two people were killed in an accident on MagnaGro's site. Sawyer said only that he was in South Dakota, "trying to get home for the weekend". He then hung up the phone.
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