The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has issued fines against three Nueces County businesses in recent week, for a total of nearly $52,000.

The largest of those fines was issued Sept. 29 against Valero Refining on Up River Road, for violations that occurred in 2008.

According to TCEQ documents, a routine investigation in June 2008 revealed the company had several violations related to hazardous and solid waste. Those violations included failing to maintain containers managing hazardous waste in good condition, failing to keep those containers closed except when adding or removing waste, failing to provide written notification for all waste management units, failing to determine if solid waste generated was hazardous, failing to prevent the unauthorized discharge of solid waste and failing to maintain proper paperwork.

For those violations, the company was fined $38,688 by the state agency. Of that amount, $19,344 was paid by the company, and the remaining $19,344 was to be spent on an environmental project approved by the state. That project was to provide funding to the City of Corpus Christi for wetland construction, habitat enhancements and land acquisition at the West Oso Conservation Interpretive Park.

The TCEQ documentation noted that the company repaired the hazardous waste containers, removed contaminated soil from the area and updated all procedures and paperwork.

On Sept. 15, fines were issued against two other Corpus Christi businesses.

According to TCEQ documents, Deluxe Auto Parts, LLC, located on Omaha Drive in Corpus Christi, was fined $7,350 for violations that occurred in September 2009. During a routine investigation, the TCEQ found that the company failed to maintain a mandatory rain gauge that was located on-site, failed to obtain a scrap tire storage site registration for the approximately 2,340 used and scrap tires stored on the site, and allowed several transmission cores to leak transmission fluid onto the ground.

Of the $7,350 fine, $1,470 was deferred by the TCEQ because the company agreed to an expedited settlement. In January 2010, the TCEQ noted the company has provided proper rain gauge monitoring documentation, reduced the number of scrap tires on site to below the 500 allowed by the state, and provided documentation that the transmission cores had been properly disposed of and the site had been cleaned.

The other fine issued by the TCEQ Sept. 15 was against Times Market 35, located in the 3500 block of Up River Road. According to TCEQ documentation, a routine investigation found the company failed to properly maintain equipment and records related to its underground storage tanks. The company was fined $5,460 by the TCEQ, although $1,092 was deferred because the company agreed to an expedited settlement. The company has since replaced all faulty equipment and has begun maintaining proper records.