Texaco pleads guilty to dumping

The Associated Press
Wednesday March 14, 2001

LOS ANGELES — A subsidiary of Texaco Inc. has pleaded guilty to two felony counts of dumping waste into Southern California waterways and has been ordered to pay $4 million in fines, federal prosecutors said Monday. 

Texaco Refining and Marketing Inc. representatives agreed to the plea agreement Monday before U.S. District Judge Margaret M. Morrow in Los Angeles, said Assistant U.S. Attorney William Carter. 

The company also was placed on one year’s probation. 

“It’s the first time TRMI has been prosecuted for water pollution,” Carter said.  

He said $3 million of the fine will be used in environmental protection projects, including repairing the waterways damaged by Texaco. 

Roger Hadley, a vice president of Houston-based Texaco Refining and Marketing, entered the plea and told the judge he had no further comment. 

In one count, Texaco workers at a petroleum refinery in Wilmington failed to properly treat wastewater on Jan. 23, 1995 before discharging it into the nearby Dominguez Channel, which runs from Carson into the Pacific, Carter said. 

The refinery had a permit to discharge wastewater containing oil and grease with up to 15 parts per million. However, inspectors found water with 940 ppm. 

“Inspectors saw sheen on the water and took a sample. They found they were way over that (limit),” Carter said. 


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state Regional Water Quality Control Board have identified Dominguez Channel as one of the most severely polluted waterways in Los Angeles County. 

In the second count, an employee at a Texaco service station in San Luis Obispo told contractors to dump between 2,000 gallons and 8,000 gallons of petroleum-filled waste into a storm drain that runs into Prefumo Creek, which also flows into the ocean. 

The contractors there used pumps and hoses to remove the waste from an underground storage tank and discharged it into a nearby storm drain on March 11, 1997, Carter said.