Chemical company and owner indicted for allegedly polluting bayou

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- "There were complaints in the community," said Assistant District Attorney Alexander Forrest, chief of the environmental crimes division. "People smelled oil kerosene."

In April of 2015, the U.S. Coast Guard began investigating and uncovered that thousands of gallons of toxic waste had been dumped into Cedar Bayou, which is adjacent to Crestchem LLC.

"They have a distillation process and this instance produced a bad product, and they decided to get rid of the product in the waters of Cedar Bayou in Baytown," said Forrest.

Forrest said one of those chemicals is benzene, which is known to cause cancer and kill living things.

The owner, Henry Wuertz, and the company have just been indicted. Wuertz faces up to 5 years in prison, with a $100,000 bond.

The company is facing a fine of up to $250,000.

"Our county attorney's office wants to be clear about one thing: industrial waste does not belong and should not be in our county waters, especially waste like benzene," said Forrest.
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