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HPD: Suspect caught red-handed dumping hazardous waste into city drain

by staff

Posted on May 3, 2011 at 7:01 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 3 at 7:03 PM

HOUSTON— A man was caught red-handed dumping hazardous waste into a a City of Houston storm drain in northwest Houston.

Lonnie Earl Perkins, 54, was nabbed Sunday near the 8500 block of Golden Spike.

Officers with HPD's Environmental Investigations Unit arrested him after a lengthy investigation. 

They say Perkins worked for New Energy Fuels, a Waller company that makes biodesel fuel out of stuff like old grease. "The problem is, they didn’t do it correctly and they couldn’t sell it, so that’s why they dumped it," said Bob Allen, Harris County pollution control.

He was driving one of the company's tanker trucks when police arrested him.

They believe he is responsible for dumping thousands of gallons of hazardous waste into storm drains in the Houston and Harris County areas. The toxic waste caused more than $500,000 in damages and threatened wildlife and the environment, according to investigators.

Perkins is charged with three counts of hazardous waste and one count of water pollution. His criminal past includes a 1979 murder conviction.

The investigation started in January when a witness told investigators a detention pond in the 15000 block of Sommermeyer had been contaminated.

Investigators have since identified a total of eight sites where the hazardous waste ended up.  Those sites are in the process of being cleaned up.