No environmental damage was documented, Fewless said.
Gorham said drivers who tried to spread the waste often faced the prospect of getting stuck in fields, and that dumping the waste on slopes was an honest attempt to get it to flow downhill and spread on its own.
"Most of this is because of the volumes we're dealing with," he said. "If everyone had stopped land applications and went to lagoons, they would have had to shut down oil sites, because there weren't enough lagoons.
"We take this very seriously but I think it's the nature of the beast," Gorham said.
MonDak, which did not respond to an Associated Press request for comment, has developed wastewater treatment lagoons as part of its settlement with the state, and half of Hurley's fine will go toward developing a septic tank pumper compliance training program.
"This is just a whole new venture out there," Fewless said.
Gorham questioned whether the state is putting too much pressure on the septic tank pumping industry to come up with solutions.
"We need to work together and come up with a better way to do it," he said.
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