PHILADELPHIA (CBS) —  The State Attorney General’s Office has filed criminal charges against the former Public Works Director of Tredyffrin Township, Scott Cannon, for allegedly pouring between one and 4,000 gallons of a chemical called magnesium chloride into a retention basin adjoining the Public Works Complex on Duportail Road.

The criminal complaint claims the chemical made its way into Little Valley Creek and caused grass nearby to turn brown.

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Prosecutors claim Cannon asked his workers to open the valve on a large tank and, when they refused, he did it himself, allowing the chemical to pour out and run down a grassy slop into the basin.

In response to a CBS 3 inquiry, Cannon’s attorney, A.J.Chotkowski, emailed a statement that reads in part:

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“Mr. Cannon was surprised and disappointed to learn that charges were filed against him today… the charges occurred less than a year after Mr. Cannon initiated a civil action against Tredyffrin Township stemming from his termination as the Director of Public Works… Mr. Cannon denies that he, or any other employee under his supervision, violated any law or caused any environmental harm. The substance alleged to have been released is magnesium chloride, which is merely a common salt product used to treat roads.”

Chotkowski also questioned the validity of the prosecution by the Attorney General’s Office adding,”it is unclear about the authority the A.G.’s office has in this matter due to the status of A.G. Kane’s law license suspension.”

Cannon was arraigned and released on his own recognizance.

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His preliminary hearing is now set for January 15.