Distillery hit with criminal charges over waste dumping

18th January, 2021 by Nicola Carruthers

Virginia-based Filibuster Distillery has been charged with 115 counts of violating environmental state laws, including the alleged dumping of more than 40,000 gallons of industrial waste into a river.

A stream in Virginia’s Shenandoah County has been allegedly filled with industrial waste from a distillery

Filibuster Distillery has been indicted with 115 counts after a two-year investigation by Shenandoah County’s fire marshal Dave Ferguson and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

The charges were given to Filibuster Distillery, Filibuster Barrels, and Filibuster founder Sid Dilawri, by a grand jury and are the first criminal indictments related to environmental violations brought by the state’s office of the attorney general and the DEQ.

The alleged disposal of waste into the stream was said to have mainly occurred in November 2018. However, Filibuster Distillery was accused of continuing to release industrial water with ‘excessive levels of zinc and copper’ until at least September 2020.

The Virginia office of the attorney general said that Dilawri had initially denied that any dumping occurred and then claimed that there was a one-time accident at the distillery. He then later admitted to giving false information to law enforcement authorities and said that he had known about the dumping.

“All businesses, no matter what size they are, must adhere to state and federal environmental protections, and when they don’t, they will be held accountable,” said Mark Herring, attorney general of Virginia.

“Not only did this distillery allegedly dump tens of thousands of gallons of industrial waste into a stream, Dilawri also allegedly lied about it to investigators, and that will not be tolerated in Virginia.

“I want to thank our partners at DEQ and the Shenandoah County fire marshal for their help and coordination on this case. I hope these charges will send a message to other businesses that Virginia takes protecting our environment very seriously.”

Based in Shenandoah County, Filibuster Distillery produces Bourbon, rye whiskey and gin.

The Spirits Business has approached Filibuster Distillery for comment.

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