WASHINGTON – Integrated Production Services Inc. (IPS), a Houston-based natural gas and oil drilling contractor, was sentenced today in federal court in Muskogee, Okla., to pay a criminal fine of $140,000 for violations of the Clean Water Act at its hydraulic fracturing operation in Atoka County, Okla., the Justice Department announced.
Gabriel Henson, a crew supervisor for IPS, was sentenced to two years probation and a fine of $2,500.
In May 2007, IPS was performing hydraulic fracturing (fracking) at the Pettigrew 18-3H well site in Atoka County, where Henson was a crew supervisor. IPS’s fracking operations included using hydrochloric acid to penetrate though bedrock and thousands of feet of substrata.
On May 24, 2007, a tank leaked an estimated 400-700 gallons of hydrochloric acid onto the earthen pad surface of the well site. The earthen pad was also flooded with water from recent heavy rainfall. In order to remove the rainwater from the well site, Henson drove a pickup truck owned by IPS through an earthen berm, causing the rainwater contaminated with hydrochloric acid to flow off the well pad and down into Dry Creek, a tributary of Boggy Creek, a water of the United States under the Clean Water Act. Henson and IPS both pleaded guilty to a negligent violation of the Clean Water Act, on July 10, 2011, and Sept. 21, 2011, respectively.
IPS was also sentenced to a community service payment of $22,000 to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation for ecological studies and remediation of Boggy Creek, located in the Eastern District of Oklahoma. IPS will serve a two-year period of probation, during which it will be required to implement and perform an Environmental Compliance Program at a cost of no less than $38,000 to train IPS employees regarding proper hazardous waste handling and spill response procedures.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigation Division and the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office of Inspector General. The case is a joint prosecution between the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma and the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice, Environment and Natural Resources Division.