Used oil hauler pleads guilty to hazmat violations

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Texas Oil and Gathering Inc. and its owner, John Kessel, and operations manager Edgar Pettijohn, pled guilty April 16 in U.S. District Court in Houston to conspiring to violate hazardous material laws, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of the Inspector General.

Texas Oil and Gathering, located in Alvin, Texas, formerly was authorized by the state to handle and transport used oil products, DOT-OIG said. According to factual statements filed with the pleas, Kessel and Pettijohn directed the falsification of documents such as bills of lading and driver logs in order to dispose of hazardous wastewater and/or industrial process wastewater at an injection well in Rosharon, Texas.

The defendants knew the well was not permitted to receive the hazardous wastewaters, said DOT-OIG, which handled the investigation jointly with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Criminal Investigation Division, with assistance from other federal and state environmental law enforcement agencies. The case is being prosecuted by the Department of Justice’s Environmental Crimes Section.