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PA TEXAS CHEMICAL COMPANY AND MANAGER PLEAD GUILTY TO ILLEGAL STORAGE OF HAZARDOUS WASTES

Release Date: 12/12/97
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FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 12, 1997
TEXAS CHEMICAL COMPANY AND MANAGER PLEAD GUILTY TO ILLEGAL STORAGE OF HAZARDOUS WASTES

On Dec. 5, Destara Chemicals Inc., of Waller, Texas and Erik Pergens, a Belgian citizen who is general manager of Destara, plead guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in Houston to violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Destara plead guilty to illegally storing hazardous wastes and to failing to keep records of chemical tests of hazardous wastes. Pergens plead guilty to failing to keep records of tests. Both defendants admitted that Destara stored over 200 drums of styrene, polystyrene, methanol, acetone, and acrylonitrile in still bottoms at the Destara facility in Waller without a permit from EPA or from the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission. Ingestion of methanol can cause damage to the nervous system and inhalation of acetone can produce unconsciousness and cause damage to internal organs. Both chemicals are also volatile and flammable. When sentenced Destara faces up to $1 million in fines and Pergens faces a maximum of two years in jail, $250,000 in fines, or both. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division and the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission.


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