Thur 1:40 pm: Ohio revokes D&L, Hardrock permits

YOUNGSTOWN – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources served orders to D&L Energy and Hardrock Excavating permanently revoking operating permits for both companies, the agency announced today.

The action came after employees of Hardrock Excavating were observed a week ago dumping oilfield waste into a storm sewer that emptied into the Mahoning River watershed.

Both companies are located at 2761 Salt Springs Road and are owned by Ben Lupo. They were served notice of the revocation of their permits on Wednesday.

Cleanup crews remained on the site today, where continued efforts are underway to flush and clean out the storm sewers. Officials have said the discharge has been contained.

ODNR had received an anonymous tip of illegal dumping at the Salt Springs Road facility. The cleanup and both civil and criminal investigations are ongoing at this time.

Under orders from the state D&L Energy will cease all injection well operations in the state of Ohio, include six injection well permits for D&L Energy. Three new pending injection well permits also are denied. In addition, D&L Energy will cease all temporary storage operations at 2761 Salt Springs Rd in Youngstown. Hardrock Excavating’s brine haulers permit, which allowed it to transport oilfield waste from drilling rigs to its facility, also is revoked.

The state immediately started and is continuing a criminal investigation. ODNR has requested the Ohio Attorney General initiate civil proceedings.

The Ohio EPA regulates any pollutants that enter waters of the state. Both state and federal laws prohibit the placement of industrial wastes in a location where they cause pollution of any waters of the state and without a permit. Under state law, violators face a misdemeanor penalty of up to one year in prison and a $25,000 fine. Under federal law, a knowing violation constitutes a felony. A knowing violation occurs when an individual or corporation knowingly discharges pollutants into navigable waters. The maximum penalty is a fine of $50,000 per day of violation and three years’ imprisonment.