Morrell wastewater manager gets presidential pardon

The former wastewater treatment manager at John Morrell & Co. in Sioux Falls received a pardon today from President Obama for his role in dumping slaughterhouse waste into the Big Sioux River.

Ronald Greenwood was sentenced in 1996 for conspiracy to violate the Clean Water Act. He was sentenced to three years probation, six months’ home confinement, 100 hours community service, $5,000 restitution and a $1,000 fine.

But Greenwood, along with his assistant, Barry M. Milbauer, were not the prime targets in the investigation. On Feb. 26, 1996, former Vice President Timothy J. Sinskey and then Plant Engineer Wayne Kumm were indicted by a federal grand jury for violating the Clean Water Act over an eight-year period.

Kumm was charged with 17 violations and Sinskey with 30 violations, including charges that he deliberately falsified monthly discharge reports. Sinskey was eventually convicted on 12 felony counts including modifying monitoring to obtain false readings, discharging hazardous substances, and falsifying discharge reports. He received 24 months in prison and two years supervised release.

Kumm was convicted of one felony count of modifying a discharge monitoring method to give false readings. He was sentenced to six months in jail and six months home confinement.

The indictment alleged that Sinskey and Kumm assured Greenwood and Milbauer that Morrell would spend money to stop the pollution but instructed them to “get us by” until that happened.

Morrell paid a $2 million criminal fine and another $1 million to establish a cleanup fund for the Big Sioux.

Greenwood, now of Crane, Mo., did not immediately return a phone call.

But he told Greenwire today that he submitted paperwork for the pardon in 2007.

"Some guys were falsifying some records and I knew about it and I just shut my mouth, is basically what it was," he told Greenwire.

Obama issued eight commutations and 13 pardons Thursday.