Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan announced today that the Environmental Protection Agency has added two contaminated sites on North Richey in Pasadena, Texas to the National Priorities List for cleanup under the Superfund program.
Ryan sued U.S. Oil Company, a used oil and wastewater processor, in 2011 for multiple violations of environmental laws including illegal discharges of contaminated wastewater, air nuisances, and the illegal storage of hazardous waste. During heavy rains oily waste, sludge, and organic chemical-bearing wastes would flow from the plant into Little Vince Bayou. Ryan added the MCC site to the lawsuit when pipes were found connecting MCC, a former sewer treatment plant, to the bayou.
The lawsuit showed that U.S. Oil had allowed the sites to become polluted with a variety of hazardous substances including mercury arsenic, barium, cobalt, manganese, mercury, silver and vanadium.
In August 2011 a judge ordered the facilities to close and pay more than $3 million in penalties and attorneys’ fees.
The Office of the County Attorney, the Harris County Pollution Control Department, and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality worked with the EPA to have the sites added to the National Priorities List for cleanup under the Superfund.
Superfund is the federal program that investigates and cleans up the most complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country. The National Priorities Listing is the official recognition by the EPA that the site qualifies for funding and that it has been placed in a program that requires those companies that manufactured the waste at the site to pay for the clean-up.
Ryan said, “Our Office will continue taking action against companies that break the law and injure the health and safety of the people of Harris County. We are pleased that our efforts have resulted in the addition of these locations to the official list of Superfund Sites that are to be cleaned up.”