The Railroad Commission of Texas fined an oil and gas wastewater management company for disposing of contaminated water without a permit, and releasing toxic chemicals in fresh water on a piece of property in West Texas.
The company, Clean Tech Waste Solutions, based in Austin, was fined more than $5,000 on Tuesday for multiple violations spanning several months, commission documents show. But Commissioner Ryan Sitton argued that fine wasn’t enough for a company that repeatedly broke state rules regarding water protection. The Railroad Commission issues permits for the disposal of wastewater from oil and gas production, which can be injected deep underground or put into surface containment ponds.
The company could not immediately be reached for comment.
Inspectors for the commission, which regulates the oil and gas industry, visited Clean Tech’s facility in Big Lake, south of Midland, eight times between February 2015 and August 2016 and reported contaminated soil and no efforts to clean it up. Some inspections found that rainfall had caused a frac tank — which holds water and chemical mixture used in hydraulic fracturing — to overflow and contaminate the surrounding area.
In a report, the staff asked the commission’s to fine the company because “discharges of oil and gas wastes can contaminate the land surface, affect the health of humans and animals, and may eventually be discharged to surface or subsurface waters, causing pollution.