BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The former operator of a saltwater well in southwest North Dakota linked to an illegal wastewater dumping case has been indicted on felony charges.
Forty-one-year-old Jason Halek pleaded not guilty Monday in federal court in Bismarck to multiple charges, including violating the Safe Drinking Water Act, making false statements and obstructing grand jury proceedings.
The indictment charges the Southlake, Texas, man with conspiring with others to inject saltwater into a disposal well near Dickinson without first having North Dakota inspectors witness a test of the well’s integrity.
Saltwater is an unwanted byproduct of oil production and is considered an environmental hazard. It is many times saltier than sea water and can easily kill vegetation exposed to it.
Halek’s attorney didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment on the case.