GLEN LYN, Va. (WRIC) — In the town of Glen Lyn, perched on the New River in Virginia’s remote Giles County, a small-town mayor is facing federal charges after he allegedly ordered town employees to dump raw sewage into the river.
The town, which is home to less than 100 inhabitants, boasts on its website of the beautiful parks, trails and 1,500-acre Kairos Resort nearby. But, lacking in its own facilities, the town shared a waste treatment plant with the nearby town of Rich Creek — population 741.
Now, James Howard Spencer, the mayor of Glen Lyn, is accused of violating the Clean Water Act by ordering town employees to dump raw sewage from a pump station directly into a tributary of the New River on at least three separate occasions.
“The defendant abused his position of authority and violated the public’s trust by ordering public employees of Glen Lyn to illegally discharge raw sewage into the East River, a tributary of the New River,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Richard Conrad.
According to prosecutors, Spencer ordered the illegal discharges in Summer 2019, December 2020 and June 2021.
The raw sewage came from a pumping station behind the local post office — just a few hundred yards from the scenic New River.
Spencer could face up to three years in federal prison and a stiff fine for each count.