Water Quality – Cont’d
The Inland Environmental trial date and litigation activities have been stayed until October 2022, subject to reinstatement of Rule 11 under the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure that allows lawyers and parties to a lawsuit to enter into a written agreement on any subject matter of the suit.
A Rule 11 agreement was signed by the parties in August 2021 under which Inland, David Polston and Kenneth Owens (the landowner/landlord) agreed to apply Inland’s insurance money to construct interim controls (liners and berms) to prevent runoff from the process area, the chemical container storage area and the “super sac” fracking material piles.
These measures were designed to protect Skull Creek while Inland’s consultants sample soils, stockpiles, groundwater and the creek to determine where contaminants have migrated that require cleanup under the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s applicable standards.
Inland is also required to cooperate with the parties and Inland’s former tote and drum suppliers to facilitate the removal of the chemical containers brought to the site.
These activities are to be performed in accordance with plans submitted to, and approved by, TCEQ. As of mid-October 2021, TCEQ had approved Inland’s selection of a consultant contractor to perform the site assessment work. The approved contractor is GSI, an environmental firm out of Houston.
Another company (Amerapex) was picked by Inland to do the stabilization work (berms and liners). Amerapex submitted a work plan last month to which TCEQ responded with comments. In mid-October 2021, TCEQ required changes to Amerapex’s sampling and construction plans.
There has been progress on the removal of the chemical containers. Approximately 700 totes and 200 drums were voluntarily removed by Baker Hughes in November 2020 – January 2021. Two other tote suppliers (SWS and Container Express) have each visited the site, and each expressed interest in removing over 1000 totes. Details of these further chemical container removal activities had not been approved by the State as of mid-October 2021.
In early 2019, the toxic spill blackened and sterilized Skull Creek, which endangered tens of thousands of acres of rice lands, farms, livestock, and critical migratory bird flyways downstream – leading all the way to the Gulf Coast.