Company convicted of conspiracy to dump wastewater

An environmental services company has been found guilty of conspiracy to dump more than 300,000 gallons (11,3550 litres) of wastewater contaminated with petroleum into underground wells in Oklahoma.

The jury, also convicted the owner of the company which transported the wastewater to Oklahoma.

The jury in Tulsa, Oklahoma found both Allied Environmental and its president, Koteswara Attaluri, had conspired to violate federal clean water and hazardous waste laws and committed fraud. Federal prosecutors identified Attaluri as the leader of an illegal scheme to dump the wastewater into injection wells. The jury also convicted Overholt Trucking owner Mac DeWayne Overholt for the same conspiracy and fraud charges, as well as criminal charges under the Clean Water Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

The Safe Drinking Water Act prohibits the unauthorised use of injection wells that are associated with oil and gas production in order to protect underground drinking water sources. As part of its environmental consulting business, Allied was involved in the removal of underground storage tanks and petroleum-tainted wastewater from military facilities in Kansas and Missouri.

The government charged that Allied and Attaluri arranged with Overholt to transport the wastewater to Oklahoma and inject it into wells in Cushing, Beggs, and Lincoln County without a permit issued by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.

The scheme occurred over a 15-month period during 1994 and 1995 and involved the disposal of more than 310,000 gallons (11,7335 litres) of petroleum-contaminated wastewater into injection wells.

The defendants will be sentenced on January 31, 1999 in US District Court in Tulsa. They were immediately jailed following the verdicts today. The remaining defendant who was charged in the case, Allied employee Gary Bicknell, was acquitted.

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