Texas company, officials sentenced for hazmat violations

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Texas Oil and Gathering Inc., owner John Kessel and operations manager Edgar Pettijohn recently were sentenced in U.S. District Court in Houston on one count of conspiracy to violate the Safe Drinking Water Act and one count of knowingly disposing of waste in violation of the act, the Department of Transportation Inspector General’s Office announced.

TOG formerly was authorized by the state to handle and transport used oil products. 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 illegally dispose of hazardous waste water at an injection well knowing the injection well was not permitted to receive hazardous wastes.

Kessel was sentenced to five years probation, ordered to perform 100 hours of community service and ordered to pay a $50,000 fine and $200 special assessment. Pettijohn was sentenced to five years probation, ordered to perform 100 hours of community service and ordered to pay a $200 special assessment. TOG was sentenced to three years probation and ordered to pay an $80,000 fine and a $200 special assessment.

DOT-OIG conducted the investigation jointly with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Criminal Investigation Division with assistance from state environmental agencies. DOT-OIG says there are other potential defendants in the case, and the investigation continues.