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TCEQ investigates Blackhorn Environmental Services in Orange Grove

Robin Bradshaw
Alice Echo News Journal

Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect that the company serves Eagle Ford, Texas Gulf Coast Southern Region and users of the Port of Corpus Christi. 

ORANGE GROVE - Orange Grove residents who share property close to Blackhorn Environmental Services, LLC. received a possible validation from the Texas Commission on Environment Quality (TCEQ) for complaints that involve poor air quality near County Road 308.   

The report follows a grievance made by neighboring property owners. Neighbors presented safety and health concerns to the Jim Wells County  Commissioners Court this past October involving the Blackhorn Environmental disposal facility.  

Blackhorn Environmental Services LLC. is located on 232 acres near County Road 308 and is a disposal facility that services the oil and gas industry and are permitted and regulated through the Texas Railroad Commission. The disposal facility specializes in the handling of non-hazardous oil and gas waste. The company serves Eagle Ford, Texas Gulf Coast Southern Region and users of the Port of Corpus Christi. 

The investigation report issued by TCEQ is an Alleged Violation associated with an Order of Enforcement based on multiple citizen complaints, Citizen Collected Evidence (CCE) and an investigation conducted by a TCEQ Investigator. The investigation determined that offensive sour petroleum waste odors from Blackhorn Services Disposal Facility were found in sufficient frequency, intensity, duration and offensiveness to interfere with normal use and enjoyment of property as well as adversely affect human health. 

The Alleged Violation associated with an Order of Enforcement issued by TCEQ has recommended Blackhorn Environmental Services provide to submit an action plan to the TCEQ Corpus Christi regional office in response to the alleged violation and a plan of action to stop any recurrence. 

"I have noticed a huge shift in the mitigation patterns this year," said Jennifer Green, neighbor to the Blackhorn Environmental Services. "I have lived here my entire life and I have never seen anything like this before. The doe are gone, rabbits are gone, butterflies are gone and the land is lifeless. It is not the same environment I have known all these years -especially in regards to wild animal life."   

Blackhorn Environmental Service, LLC. was contacted in response to the alleged violation from TCEQ and submitted the following statement:

"Blackhorn has not discharged any air contaminants in such concentrations and of such duration that could be injurious to human health or that would reasonably interfere with the normal use and enjoyment of animal life, vegetation, or property. No employees have reported health or safety issues while working in close proximity to waste materials in this facility. Neighbors, active in pending litigation against Blackhorn, have filed numerous complaints over the past 14 months with the TCEQ citing 'unpleasant petroleum odors.' Time and time again, Blackhorn has been exonerated of the alleged violation...Blackhorn is confident that this alleged violation will also be cleared.  

Blackhorn Environmental LLC. in Jim Wells County.