Slide Court Report

Two companies connected to local oil production have agreed to pay penalties totaling $380,000 after an investigation found they, and possibly others, were sending hazardous materials to a Bakersfield facility that wasn't permitted to receive them.

The settlements with California Resources Corp., a Santa Clarita-based oil producer active in Kern County, and pipeline operator Kinder Morgan Liquids Terminals LLC were announced Wednesday by Kern District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer.

She said in a news release that a joint investigation by the county Environmental Health Division and the state Department of Toxic Substances continues and that "the district Attorney's Office intends to hold accountable other actors involved in the improper handling of hazardous waste."

CRC agreed to pay $140,000, plus $25,000 to reimburse the agencies for their investigations, after investigators determined the company sent tank bottoms related to its oilfield operations to Las Palmas Oil & Dehydration at 3121 Standard St. Zimmer's release said CRC "contends Las Palmas represented it could accept" the waste.

Kinder Morgan, which agreed to pay $240,000 in penalties plus $30,000 in investigation costs, was found to have sent Las Palmas gasoline containing MTBE, a groundwater pollutant sometimes used in fuels. Zimmer's release said the company had gathered the fluid as part of an ongoing groundwater remediation project it is conducting at its Carson terminal.

The investigation started with an anonymous complaint, the release says. Las Palmas has acknowledged it received hazardous waste it was not permitted to handle.