At a hearing Tuesday, Team Industrial Services, Inc., pleaded guilty to putting citizens' health at risk in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Clinton E. Averitte in federal court in Amarillo and was charged with a misdemeanor offense.
A small number of non-management employees from the Borger office admitted to releasing hazardous pollutants into the air and placed others in danger of death or serious bodily injury during this leak detection and repair service required by the Clean Air Act at Valero McKee refinery in Sunray, according to the Amarillo Globe News.
Federal documents state that from 2007 through 2009, Team employees working at the refinery knowingly failed to follow required protocols while conducting emissions monitoring of certain refinery components. The employees also manipulated testing results to falsely represent the emissions monitoring events that were not performed.
According to plea documents, Team faces up to a five-year term of probation and up to a $200,000 fine or twice the gross gain or loss resulting from the offense.
A Team supervisor and other employees knew the emissions monitoring data were false, but still altered the emissions monitoring database to falsely represent the events to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) that resulted in false representations/certifications to those agencies.
As part of its plea agreement with the government, Team has agreed to create and start an Environmental Compliance Plan that addresses its leak detection and reporting activities to make the right submissions with the Clean Air Actâ€™s leak detection and repair regulations. Team also agreed that its facility on Florida Street in Borger will be placed on the EPAâ€™s List of Violating Facilities, and will be ineligible for any federally funded contracts, grants or loans until the EPA removes it from their list.
â€śWe are extremely disappointed that the actions of a few non-management employees in a single branch have damaged the good reputation maintained by Team Inc.â€™s global organization,â€ť said Phil Hawk, Teamâ€™s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. â€śAs an industry leader in the field of leak detection and repair services, we are committed to offering the best LDAR services in the industry to our customers, including investing in state-of-the art LDAR technology and continuously enhancing our LDAR compliance programs.â€ť