Company employee arraigned on charges

Mauricio Julian Cuellar Jr., Alice Echo-News Journal

One man from Dorsal Services was arraigned July 10 for charges of illegally dumping more than 500 pounds of material into the yard of nearby JL Construction in May.

Adan Hinojosa, 45, pleaded not guilty to the charge of illegal dumping and also faces charges of criminal trespass connected to the May 7 incident.

Jim Wells County Abatement Officer Hector Zertuche arrived at Dorsal Services after a complaint was made by JL owner Jose Leal concerning a hose found by workers on his property. Zertuche followed the hose back some 100 feet to Dorsal Services property, according to his report.

Following the hose, which lead to a pump, Zertuche found a large pit on Dorsal property containing an unknown fluid.

Hinojosa, who was in charge of the Dorsal site at the time, said he was aware of the hose, and that it had been moved there after the business had received complaints from railroad workers after pumping the fluid into the railroad right-of-way.

The pit measured 120 feet by 60 feet, according to the report, and contained a noticeable film of oil on top of the fluid.

Zertuche returned later that day with an official from the railroad commission who investigated the site. Four days later, Zertuche received word from Arnold Ott, with the commission, who said the pit at Dorsal was not a railroad commission regulated pit, and the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality was called in to investigate.

On May 16, two investigators with TCEQ met with Zertuche and Butch Till, operations manager for Dorsal Services. Till was cooperative, officials said, and stated that a mistake had taken place with his company's operations.

He said he was aware of the illegal discharge from the pit and acknowledged the error, according to Zertuche's report.

He stated the pit would be taken out of service immediately, and the fluid disposed of properly.

The TCEQ report, which was released on June 15, marked five alleged violations at the Dorsal site.

They were failure to prevent unauthorized discharge, failure to notify TCEQ of discharge, failure to obtain authorization to discharge storm water associated with industrial activity through a permit and failure to prevent discharge of untreated wastewater from a pond that was not adequately lined.

"The laboratory results from the sludge collected in the wash water pond did not indicate hazardous constituents," the TCEQ compliant report stated.

"The laboratory results from the water collected from the wash water pond indicate poor effluent quality for discharge into or adjacent to state water."

Hinojosa would not comment on the charges of illegal dumping and criminal trespass, and directed all questions to his attorney, Giancarlo Nisimblat, who did not return phone calls Tuesday.