The former manager of the Abbeville-based Omega Proteins Incorporated is facing prison time and  thousands of dollars in fines after pleading guilty to directing employees to discharge pollutants into a canal that feeds into the Vermilion River.

The U.S. Attorney's Office reported Al Vidrine III, of New Orleans, pleaded guilty to unlawful discharge of a pollutant into U.S. waters.

According to the guilty  plea, on February 1, 2016, Vidrine directed employees to place a hose in the facility's treatment pond and drain processed water into a canal that emptied into the river.

Vidrine faces up to one year in prison for the violation. He may also have to pay between $2,500 and $25,000 per day the pollutant was drained into the waterway.

According to the Omega Protein Web site, Omega Protein, "develops, produces, and delivers essential nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, dairy and botanical proteins, and antioxidant rich nutraceuticals to leading supplement and food manufacturers so people worldwide can live healthier lives."

The U.S. EPA and Louisiana State Police investigated this case.

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