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EPA orders gas company to comply with Clean Water Act on Navajo land

Release Date: 3/30/2004
Contact Information: Wendy L. Chavez, (415) 947-4248

SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is ordering Mountain States Petroleum Corp. to comply with the Clean Water Act requirements of its wastewater discharge permit on the Navajo Nation.

The New Mexico-based company, which operates an oil field on the Navajo Nation in Utah, failed to monitor and sample wastewater from its operations and submit quarterly reports to the EPA. The company last reported its discharge monitoring reports December 2001.

The company discharges wastewater to a tributary to the Chinle Wash, which is a tributary to the San Juan River.

"Ranchers use this water for their livestock and Mountain States must do its part to sample and monitor the discharge to ensure that the water is not polluted," said Alexis Strauss, director of the EPA's Water Division for the Pacific Southwest region. "Diligent oversight of the permit requirements minimizes the potential of harmful pollutants being discharged into nearby water bodies."

Under the EPA order, the company must sample and monitor for pollutants, which may be present in the water that is separated from the crude oil, such as oil, grease and solids, and submit quarterly reports to the EPA. Failure to comply with the order may result in a penalty of $32,500 per day per violation.

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