Texas Tanker Caught On Camera Illegally Dumping Fracking Waste

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A Texas oil tanker truck was caught on camera illegally disposing of fracking waste, according to a Texas watchdog group.

Surveillance footage obtained by the Karnes County Sheriff’s Department showed a tanker truck spewing toxic fracking fluid all over a county road in March, according to InsideClimate NewsThe drilling fluid usually contains dangerous chemicals, oil, metals shavings and naturally occurring radioactive material.

Investigators say the truck left a Marathon Oil Corp. drilling site with up to 1,260 gallons of contaminated drilling fluid and arrived at its cleaning facility completely empty, according to records.

If not for the video footage of the distinct flash of the truck’s reflective strips, the culprit may have gotten away with the incident. Now the Sheriff’s Department and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and the state Railroad Commission are investigating the dumping.

Sheriff’s investigators said they have narrowed down the suspects to one trucking company, On Point Services. The company's owner, Winfred Stanfield, denied the allegations. When shown the video, he allegedly blamed the spill on an incompetent driver.

The Sheriff's department says it can't discuss the details of the case any further until TCEQ and the Railroad Commission wrap up their investigations.

Karnes County is the same area of the Eagle Ford Shale where residents have reported severe health problems from air pollution.

InsideClimate News reports this isn’t the first time hazardous fracking waste from the 26-county Eagle Ford region has been illegally dumped.

A Wilson County farmer, Amber Lyssy, says she witnessed a tanker truck stop in the middle of a dirt road near her Poth, Texas, home in January. She said the truck emptied out a brownish fluid that smelled strongly of diesel.

"It was gushing out and pooling on the road," Lyssy told InsideClimate News.

She says she hurried home to drop off her kids at the organic farm she and her husband run. Then she hurried back with her camera, but the tanker was gone.

Inside she filmed the fluid in the road and took a sample in a canning jar.

She says she alerted law enforcement, by “It was just pooh-poohed away.”

The nonprofit group ProPublica says numerous fracking states, including Ohio and Texas, are struggling to contain the hazardous radioactive waste produced by fracking: “In North Dakota, a state that has seen a tremendous growth in oil production in recent years, officials have been finding heaps of filter socks – nets used to strain radioactive wastewater – dumped illegally in abandoned gas stations and alongside roads.”

Sources: InsideClimate NewsScientific American