Louisiana oil drilling services fined for environmental violations

The U.S Environmental Agency announced recently that a Broussard, Louisiana-based drilling service provider has agreed to pay a six-figure penalty for environmental violations involving hazardous waste. The company, Pinnacle Oilfield Services, provides nondestructive testing of pipe and other downhole components for drilling and production companies.

According to the EPA, Pinnacle violated the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) related to the storage and handling of hazardous waste over a period of five years. Since 1994 the facility had reported that it produced less than 100 kilograms of hazardous material per month, roughly equal to 220 pounds. However, since 2009 the company has generated over 1,000 kilograms, or 2,200 pounds, of toxic waste material per month. 

Under the RCRA, passed in 1976, entities that produce hazardous waste are regulated and subject to accumulation, manifesting and recordkeeping standards. By generating 10 times more waste than they reported, Pinnacle allegedly broke the laws codified in the RCRA.

"RCRA is the federal law governing the treatment, storage and disposal of hazardous waste," the EPA's release stated. "RCRA is designed to protect public health and the environment, and avoid costly cleanups, by requiring the safe, environmentally-sound storage and disposal of hazardous waste. The RCRA requirements mandate the use of safe practices which greatly reduce the chance that hazardous waste will be released into the environment."

Pinnacle will pay $146,585 to the EPA to settle the alleged violations. The company will also take steps to protect the people living near its facility from the health and environmental risks associated with hazardous waste.

Experienced environmental consultants help businesses across a variety of industries regulate their practices to ensure they are in compliance with state and federal laws. Working with consultants, facilities can continue providing their services unhindered.