Ouch! $2.2 million fine for Texas waste disposal company

The state of New Mexico has come down hard on a Texas-based oilfield driller and waste disposal company, fining the firm $2.2 million for pollution violations.

The New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department announced a state district court order that Siana Operating, based in Midland, Texas had to also cease disposal activities and clean up polluted well sites in the state.

The sites are located in the Permian Basin which is in the southeast part of New Mexico. A spokeswoman for the agency, Beth Wojahn said Siana had not fulfilled provisions of the recent court judgment.

State regulators have accused Siana of failing to comply with a 2016 settlement agreement to address spills of oily salt water at well sites in southeastern New Mexico and cap an abandoned well.

Wastewater from oil and natural gas drilling operations is typically delivered by truck to disposal sites like Siana’s, where most oil is skimmed off before water is injected deep underground.

Siana has been a major provider of well-water disposal services in New Mexico, but ran afoul of permit rules overseen by the Oil Conservation Division.

The State Land Office also is engaged in litigation with Siana over accusations the company trespassed and spilled waste on state trust lands where it stopped making lease payments years ago.