Truck Driver Pleads Guilty to Illegally Dumping Sewage at School

PHOENIX - Attorney General Mark Brnovich and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) announced Michael Wayne Higgins, a former truck driver, pleaded guilty to 1 count of Unlawful Discharge, a Water Quality Violation, a class 5 felony.

In August 2016, Higgins was working as a tanker truck driver for Emergency Pumping & Plumbing when he dumped thousands of gallons of untreated sewage into a storm drainage system at the Austin School for Exceptional Children Phoenix West Campus. The storm drainage system flowed from the school’s parking lot into a grassy area that was used as a playground.

ADEQ followed normal enforcement procedures to remedy the situation. When Emergency Pumping & Plumbing and Michael Wayne Higgins failed to cooperate or address the violation, ADEQ referred the case to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office. ADEQ’s Emergency Response Unit contracted out the cleanup of the drywell and subsequent sampling to ensure no public health or environmental risks remained.

Under the plea, Higgins will pay cleanup costs of $3,993.34. He is facing 6 months to 2.5 years in prison.

His sentencing is set for December 4, 2017 at 8:15am.

Arizona Department of Environmental Quality assisted in the investigation of this case.

Assistant Attorney General Adam J. Schwartz is prosecuting this case.