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AG Yost Pursues Legal Action Against Austin Master for Environmental Violations


(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is seeking to force Austin Master Services, an oil and gas waste services company, to immediately stop storing illegal excess quantities of brine and drilling waste at its facility in Martins Ferry.

As part of a complaint filed in Belmont County Common Pleas Court, Yost requested a temporary restraining order against the Pennsylvania-based company.

“This company’s negligence is threatening to put Ohio communities and our natural resources in jeopardy,” Yost said. “We are acting quickly to try to prevent a big environmental mess.”

The complaint accuses the company, which provides waste-management and radiological services to the oil-field industry, of accumulating brine and other dangerous waste materials at volumes exceeding those allowed under its permit with the Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management, part of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. 

Of chief concern, the court filing says, is the plant’s proximity to the Ohio River (about 500 feet) and to a drinking water well field (1,000 feet) for the city of Martins Ferry. The waste currently onsite exceeds the facility’s storage capacity, and the risk of overflow poses a significant threat to the surrounding area and to public health. Additionally, an inspection by ODNR found that the facility’s operators are storing waste outside of the facility’s structures designed for containment.

Also adding to the environmental risks, the complaint says, is the loss of the company’s safety officer, who was among employees recently laid off.

To date, Austin Masters has failed to comply with ODNR’s orders to clean up the site.

Yost is asking the court to compel Austin Master Services to take immediate corrective action, including:

  • Significant reduction of all waste to meet its permitted conditions.
  • Proper removal and disposal of all solid waste, liquid and sludge from inside the facility.
  • Compliance with approved radiation protection protocols.

The Attorney General’s Office and ODNR work collaboratively to safeguard Ohio’s environment and public health.

Hannah Hundley: 614-906-9113


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