Beaumont co. Pemco Services Inc. fined $1.5 million for illegal dumping

Beaumont co. fined $1.5 million for illegal dumping by Dan Wallach, November 6, 2012, Beaumont Enterprise
A Beaumont-area company has pleaded guilty in a Travis County court to eight charges in connection with illegal dumping of toxic drilling mud used in the oil and gas industry. The company, Pemco Services Inc., was fined $1.35 million. Pemco was convicted last week of Texas Water Code violations relating to the operation of an oil and gas waste landfarming site near Smith Road and Interstate 10. The charges stemmed from a criminal investigation that focused on the deposit of more than 1.3 million barrels of used drilling muds onto the landfarm facility in violation of the company’s permit. The drilling wastes contained elevated amounts of heavy metals from subsurface rock that was spread onto the land surface. The water in the drilling mud also contained oil. The solids and the liquids could have polluted area waterways, said Sgt. Jim Yetter, a game warden with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department who served as lead investigator in the case. Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg’s office prosecuted the case with consent from the Jefferson County district attorney’s office, Yetter said. State District Judge Mike Lynch ordered Pemco to pay fines totaling $1.35 million. Pemco also agreed to pay $14,534 in restitution for lab analysis by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The company also spent $1.1 million to clean up the site, which is now closed. [Emphasis added]

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