Karnes Co. authorities consider possible charges after frack water spill

KARNES CITY -- It was slick and smelly, and as Sheriff Dwayne Villanueva pointed down Farm to Market Road 81, he said the spill stretched to the horizon.

Deputies took pictures of the mess, as it pooled along ditches back in March.

"We had several citizens call it in that morning around 5:30. Some cars were kind of sliding off the roadway," said Villanueva.

More than 128-barrels of liquid waste had coated the asphalt. Villanueva said not knowing what the substance was had his deputies responding with caution.

The spill smelled like oilfield waste and kept 4 miles of two different highways closed for 3 days, as the Texas Department of Transportation cleaned up the toxic spill.

"The traffic was backed up for awhile," Villanueva said.

Using a game camera from a nearby ranch, authorities were able to enhance that nighttime video and narrow-down suspected trucks... to one frack-waste hauler from On Point Services, LLC.

On Point Services, LLC didn't return our calls, but the sheriff said the operator did tell deputies it was one of his tanker trucks that later arrived at a disposal site with nothing left to dispose.

By June, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's investigation said On Point Services failed to respond to the spill, report the spill and contain the spill.

"We couldn't understand it: why it was 9-miles of a spill and the company did not notice it. Usually when you have a problem, you stop and pull over," added the sheriff.

The costly cleanup is something the TCEQ says the waste hauler will be responsible for, as the TCEQ and the Texas Railroad Commission seek civil penalties.

Villanueva said the Karnes County District Attorney expects to review a possible criminal case, too.


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment