Landlord fined $15,000 for dumping sewage into Catskill Creek

A man who was arrested in April for dumping hundreds of gallons of raw sewage into Catskill Creek from his three-unit rental property in Leeds has pleaded guilty to a reduced charge, and will be fined $15,000 for the dumping.

James Sheerin, a resident of Ardsley in Westchester County, originally faced a felony charge for discharging raw sewage into the creek, which is a popular trout stream and swimming spot. From an April press release issued by the state Department of Environmental Conservation at the time of Sheerin's arrest:

Following an investigation by DEC, Mr. Sheerin was charged with one count of discharging sewage to the waters of New York State without a permit, a Class E felony. The charge is punishable by up to four years in prison and/or a fine of up to $75,000 per day of the violation.

On January 10, Sheerin pleaded guilty in Town of Catskill Court to a misdemeanor charge, and agreed to pay $15,000 to settle the charge.

DEC regional director Gene Kelly said in a news release that over the course of several months, Sheerin pumped raw sewage from the septic tank at his three-unit rental property at 1114 Main Street in Leeds into a nearby drain, which then flowed into the municipal stormwater system. The DEC used dye tests, surveillance and a search warrant to confirm that the raw sewage from the property flowed into the Catskill Creek at the Leeds Stone Bridge, about a quarter of a mile from Sheerin's rental property.