Man Hired to Clean National Mall Pleads Guilty to Dumping Waste in Potomac River

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    A man who managed a company hired to clean the National Mall storm water sewer system pleaded guilty Thursday to dumping debris and wastewater into the Potomac River.

    Patrick Brightwell, 48, of Bogart, Georgia, acknowledged as part of a plea deal that he directed workers to dump waste into the Potomac at East Potomac Park from 2009 through 2011 rather than taking it to a disposal facility. Waste also was dumped at a manhole near Fort McNair.

    His employees and subcontractors dumped waste illegally about two-thirds of the time and dumped at a proper disposal facility a third of the time, according to court documents.

    Brightwell pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Water Act by knowingly discharging a pollutant without a permit and presenting false claims to the United States.

    Under federal guidelines Brightwell faces about four to five years in prison when he is sentenced Sept. 3. He has also agreed to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in restitution.

    His lawyer did not immediately return a telephone call requesting comment.

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