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November 01, 2002
Former Assistant Public Works Superintendent Sentenced for False Reports

Vancouver - Ben Hasson, former Ridgefield assistant public works superintendent, was ordered today to serve time in jail for filing false reports with state regulators and violating the state sewage laws at the city's wastewater treatment plant.

Hasson was sentenced to 2 days in jail, 28 days of home detention with electronic monitoring and to remain on community supervision for one year after he pleaded guilty to offering a false instrument for filing, a felony, and to violation of the municipal sewage sludge biosolids act, a gross misdemeanor. In addition, Hasson was ordered to pay fines totaling $1,000 and court costs.

"The Department of Ecology and the citizens of Washington rely on public employees like Ben Hasson to file accurate reports about the treatment of sewage before it is released into the environment," Attorney General Christine Gregoire said. "His violation of that trust endangered public health and the environment."

The charges against Hasson were filed after a multi-agency investigation showed that from 1998 to 2001, more than 1.6 million gallons of untreated sewage sludge had been dumped on local properties. The sludge should have been treated with lime to kill disease-bearing organisms.

Hasson, former Ridgefield Public Works Superintendent Paul Snoey, and wastewater treatment plant employee James Strickler tampered with samples sent to a laboratory to make it appear as though the sludge had been properly treated. Hasson signed reports vouching for the authenticity of the samples.

Earlier this year, Snoey and Stricker plead guilty to gross misdemeanor charges and were sentenced to serve one day in jail and community service on a county work crew.


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