TABC in trouble with TCEQ over alleged violations in Wolfforth - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/18/09

TABC in trouble with TCEQ over alleged violations in Wolfforth

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - New documents detail an investigation the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality conducted after alcoholic beverages were disposed in Wolfforth by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission in February. The report details the investigation TCEQ conducted shortly after the TABC raided a Wolfforth convenience store destroying alcoholic beverages deemed unsafe due to a building fire.

TABC officers broke bottles last month at the Kwik Mart in Wolfforth, after an alleged sale of alcohol to another business. This was just day one of a four-day disposal effort. In all, 57,500 bottles of beer and ale, 11,355 bottles of wine were destroyed by the TABC.

TABC says it had to destroy the containers and that what wasn't broken was disposed at the landfill. But it was that first day that prompted an individual to file an anonymous report with the TCEQ which started an investigation.

"Our investigators went out and documented unauthorized discharge and submitted notice to TABC. Any discharge into or adjacent to state waters without state permission, would constitute unauthorized disposal," says TCEQ section manager Jeff Bertle.

TCEQ documents indicate alleged violations including failure to report a discharge, failure to immediately abate, and failure to complete a hazardous waste determination for each solid waste generated. The material spilled was an estimated 1,188 pounds of ethanol but according to TABC the containers disposed aren't hazardous.

In email to TCEQ, TABC Sgt. Michael Lockhart says that any ethanol left behind would have long since evaporated. TABC says it has already spent $2500 to clean up, and that it quote "left the area cleaner than they found it." As for concern about the safety of the water, it is fine, and TCEQ says warnings like this are standard.

NewsChannel 11 spoke with an attorney for TABC and she says they always comply with the law and that the violations issued are not applicable to alcoholic beverages. TCEQ says TABC has 30-days to respond to the alleged violations and there isn't a monetary fine for the violations.

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