WICHITA, Kan. – U.S. environmental regulators are investigating a Kansas chemical manufacturing company over allegations it unlawfully disposed of fluids down a well in violation of federal safe drinking water laws, search warrants unsealed Wednesday show.
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Jacam Chemical Company 2013 contends it was just treating a customer's well and said it's cooperating with the Environmental Protection Agency's inquiry.
"They have a job to do and we are responsible to comply with the laws that are in our industry," said Jacam President Jason West.
The company makes and sells specialty chemicals used in the oil and gas production and industrial markets. Its manufacturing plant and corporate headquarters are in Sterling, Kansas, and the company has a network of more than 50 warehouses across the nation.
According to search warrants made public in U.S. District Court in Kansas, the EPA said it had probable cause to believe Jacam and its subsidiary Jacam Manufacturing 2013 in Lyons violated the Safe Drinking Water Act by allegedly discharging unpermitted liquid into an underground injection well in rural Rice County. Agents executing the search warrant in May seized environmental samples from a well and a manufacturing site along with manuals, electronic records and other materials. The raid came after a surveillance operation that began in late 2012 and continued until May of this year.
Jim Cross, the spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Kansas, said no charges have been filed.
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Jacam's website touts as its environmental policy: "Zero spills, zero releases, zero incidents and zero excuses. Leave the Earth better than we found it."
West said in a phone interview that his company has a line of environmentally friendly products and takes seriously its role as stewards of the environment.
Court documents recount a federal investigation initially sparked by information provided by former employees alleging that the company years earlier had unlawfully disposed of fluids from its manufacturing operations into an injection well.
In December 2012, EPA installed video surveillance cameras at the injection well site and the manufacturing facility. Recordings in 2013 captured trucks leaving the plant and arriving a short time later at the well site, according to an affidavit. Agents this year also conducted surveillance at the sites.