Southco Enterprises, Inc. of Sherman, Texas, Ordered to Pay Penalties and Fines After Admitting it Unlawfully Stored Hazardous Waste
DALLAS — The President and Chief Executive Officer of Southco Enterprises, Inc. of Sherman, Texas, James Alexander, who pleaded guilty last month on behalf of the corporation to a one-count Information charging treating, storing or disposing of hazardous waste without a permit, was in federal court again today for the corporation’s sentencing, announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.
U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade ordered Southco Enterprises, Inc. to pay $250,000 in monetary penalties consisting of: 1) a $150,000 criminal fine payable to the U.S. District Clerk;
2) $50,000 payable to the Southern Environmental Enforcement Network Training Fund in Birmingham, Alabama; and 3) $50,000 payable to Hutchins Fire and Rescue. The payments to Hutchins Fire and Rescue are to be specifically used to acquire, purchase, lease, contract for, maintain, calibrate, test, transport, stage or store specialized equipment and gear used exclusively for actions related to spills, leaks, emissions or release of toxic or hazardous materials constituting, or possibly leading to, environmental pollution in North Texas.
In addition, Judge Kinkeade ordered that Southco Enterprises, Inc. is subject to suspension and disbarment at the discretion of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“For years, the defendants knowingly stored hazardous waste with no regard to the serious public health and environmental dangers it posed and continued to ignore these risks when told to stop this dangerous practice,” said Christopher R. Brooks, Special Agent in Charge of EPA’s criminal enforcement program for Texas. “Today’s sentencing shows that those who refuse to comply with the law will be held to account and prosecuted.”
According to documents filed in the case, Southco Enterprises, Inc. operated several waste transportation vehicles in the Dallas area that were stored at facilities including Al-Kel Chemical, located on Goode Road in Hutchins, Texas. In approximately December 2007, Al-Kel Alliance, Inc., (Al-Kel) received a Notice of Violation from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for storing numerous 55-gallon drums and 350-gallon totes that contained unknown chemicals. The Notice of Violation also noted two stationery “box trailers” with totes and fiber pack drums. TCEQ instructed Al-Kel to evaluate all the containers, including the contents of the two trailers, conduct an adequate waste determination, and ship the waste to the appropriate facility.
From approximately October 1, 2010, through August 1, 2011, accumulated hazardous wastes were again stored on several “box trailers” owned by Southco and located at the Al-Kel facility. Southco knew the accumulated hazardous waste in the “box trailers” must be disposed of at an appropriate facility.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Assistant U.S. Attorney Errin Martin and Deputy Criminal Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa J. Dunn prosecuted the case.
# # #