Worker indicted on felony charge

Worker indicted on felony charge by Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe, July 13, 2012, Denton Record Chronicle
An Eagleridge Operating worker has been indicted on a felony charge of illegally dumping contaminated water off a gas well site and into a Hickory Creek tributary. Jonathan Garza was indicted by a Denton County grand jury June 7 on one felony count of intentional or knowing unauthorized discharge. Arraignment is scheduled for July 23, and he remains free on $1,000 bond. Garza could not be reached for comment.

The case came to light after city employees visited the well site in the 3100 block of Airport Road in late September and found a pump forcing contaminated water into the creek. After the discovery, the city issued a violation notice under the water code and Denton police investigated the incident, which meant the company could also have been held criminally liable. But it was not. “No case was brought to our office for the company or its owners,” said Jamie Beck, first assistant district attorney. Eagleridge agreed to shut in the well site temporarily to clean up the contamination. Crews removed more than 24,000 gallons of wastewater and 48 cubic yards of dirt from the creek, according to the police report.

The Texas penal code provides for a state jail felony for illegal dumping of quantities greater than 1,000 pounds or 200 cubic feet. The law also provides for a state jail felony when any amount of commercial waste has been dumped illegally. If convicted, Garza faces up to two years in state jail and a $10,000 fine. [Emphasis added]

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