COLUMBUS, OH – Yesterday, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) served orders to D&L Energy and Hardrock Excavating, located at 2761 Salt Springs Road, Youngstown, and owned by Ben Lupo, that permanently revokes operating permits for both companies. The revocations came after employees were observed dumping oilfield waste into a storm sewer that emptied into the Mahoning River watershed.
Immediately upon notification, ODNR began working with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) to stop and contain the release of oil field waste to the stream. Since Friday, the state has directed contractors on the cleanup of the discharged wastes. Containment booms, absorbent pads, vacuum trucks and other equipment are in place and work continues to clean out the storm drain and remove any remaining product from the tributary.
“Ohio has enacted some of the most comprehensive oil and gas regulations in the nation to safeguard the public and the environment,” said ODNR Director James Zehringer. “ODNR treats all allegations of wrongdoing involving oilfield waste very seriously and will continue to aggressively investigate each of these cases to ensure violators are held accountable.”
“We are working as fast as possible to complete this clean up because a warming trend into the weekend could make the work more challenging as things thaw,” said Ohio EPA Director Scott Nally.
Last night’s permit revocations come less than a week after ODNR received an anonymous tip of illegal dumping at the Salt Springs Road facility. The cleanup and both civil and criminal investigations are ongoing at this time, but in response to the investigations’ findings to date, the state’s specific enforcement actions include:
- D&L Energy will cease all injection well operations in the state of Ohio.
- Revocation of six current injection well permits for D&L Energy.
- The denial of D&L Energy’s applications for three new injection well permits.
- D&L Energy will cease all temporary storage operations at 2761 Salt Springs Rd in Youngstown.
- Revocation of Hardrock Excavating’s brine haulers permit, which allowed it to transport oilfield waste from drilling rigs to its facility.
- The state immediately started and is continuing a criminal investigation.
- ODNR has requested the Ohio Attorney General initiate civil proceedings.
The Ohio EPA regulates any pollutants that enter waters of the state. Both state and federal laws prohibit the placement of industrial wastes in a location where they cause pollution of any waters of the state and without a permit. Under state law, violators face a misdemeanor penalty of up to one year in prison and a $25,000 fine. Under federal law, a knowing violation constitutes a felony. A knowing violation occurs when an individual or corporation knowingly discharges pollutants into navigable waters. The maximum penalty is a fine of $50,000 per day of violation and three years’ imprisonment.