Share story

The Associated Press

TACOMA — The man who operated the wastewater treatment plant in Mount Rainier National Park pleaded guilty today to violating the Clean Water Act in August 2011 when he let hundreds of thousands of gallons of sewage run into the Nisqually River. 

Plant operator James Barber, 52, pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge in U.S. District Court in Tacoma, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle.

In agreeing to plead guilty, Barber can’t operate a wastewater facility and is resigning from the Park Service. 

He is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. Magistrate Judge J. Richard Creatura in December.

The News Tribune reports Barber was in charge of the plant that handles waste from the Paradise Visitor Center and Paradise Inn.

He wass accused of diverting untreated waste into a drainage ditch in the spring and summer of 2011 after a filter became clogged. Testing found about 200,000 gallons of minimally treated sewage reached the river.