OKLAHOMA CITY – January Environmental Services, Inc., January Transport, Inc. and company-owner Cris January (collectively Defendants) will pay civil penalties of $1.9 million and perform comprehensive corrective measures to resolve allegations that they violated the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) through their used oil transportation and processing operations in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, announced United States Attorney Robert J. Troester.
The United States and the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) filed a complaint in federal district court in December 2020, alleging Defendants committed multiple violations of RCRA’s used oil and hazardous waste regulations. According to the complaint, Defendants transported and stored hazardous wastes without proper transport manifests or a RCRA permit, transported and processed used oil without proper testing to ensure that the oil did not contain hazardous waste, failed to maintain safe work spaces in the storage areas of the facility, and disposed of used oil filters mixed with other wastes at local landfills without first determining whether the mixture of wastes was hazardous. The violations were uncovered through a series of inspections conducted by ODEQ and subsequent joint inspections by EPA and ODEQ.
“Protecting our community requires that we safeguard our land and natural resources through the vigorous enforcement of federal environmental laws,” said Robert J. Troester, United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma. “The settlement furthers three critical goals: accountability, compliance, and safety. I applaud the law enforcement professionals for their efforts with this resolution.”
To settle the alleged violations and come into compliance with RCRA requirements, Defendants agreed to the entry of a consent decree by the Court (Consent Decree). Under the Consent Decree, Defendants must pay a civil penalty in the amount of $1.9 million. To come into compliance with the RCRA regulations, they must use proper methods to test for the presence of hazardous waste in the used oil they collect, transport to, and process at their facility. The Consent Decree also requires Defendants hire an independent engineer to evaluate the facility’s spill prevention and containment preparedness and submit compliance reports to EPA and ODEQ. In addition, they must ensure that all used oil filters are properly processed and assessed for potentially hazardous waste prior to sending any of the filters off-site for disposal.
In reaching this settlement, Defendants did not admit liability, and the government did not make any concessions about the legitimacy of the claims. The settlement allows the parties to avoid the delay, expense, inconvenience, and uncertainty involved in litigating the case.
This case was investigated by Environmental Protection Agency and the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald R. Gallegos and Environmental and Natural Resources Division attorneys Jason Barbeau and Asia A. McNeil-Womack prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.