A manager at a bulk fuel terminal in Contra Costa County pleaded guilty in federal court in San Francisco today to causing another person to tamper with or make ineffective a vapor recovery monitoring device.

Chuck Sivil, 56, of Vallejo, was a senior manager of compliance and operations for a Shore Terminals LLC fuel depot in Selby, an unincorporated area near Rodeo, during an 18-month period in 2005 and 2006 when the monitoring device was not operating.

The terminal contains large storage tanks of petroleum products and ethanol.

U.S. Attorney Joseph Russoniello said Sivil admitted during the guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Susan Illston that employees under his direction used a bypass switch so that they could load trucks without delay while the monitoring device was broken.

Russoniello said the bypass switch enabled volatile organic compounds to escape into the air in violation of the U.S. Clean Air Act.

Volatile organic compounds combine with sunlight to create ground-level ozone, a major component of smog.

Sivil is due to be sentenced by Illston on Jan. 22. Under the plea bargain, prosecution and defense attorneys agreed to recommend a sentence of one year of home confinement, 200 hours of community service and three years of probation.

In June, Delaware-based Shore Terminals pleaded guilty to one count of falsely telling two government agencies that it was in compliance with its Clean Air Act permit in 2006.

At a sentencing in July, Illston fined the company $1.75 million and ordered it to pay an additional $750,000 to community service projects to improve air quality in the East Bay.

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