A company president pleaded guilty to Texas water-code violations for hazardous waste Friday after investigators found she was responsible for storing toxic acid in a 10-by-20 unit at Pond Springs Mini Storage in the northwest part of Austin. Christine Giese, president of BenCor, a manufacturer of printed circuit boards, must pay $60,000 in fines for improper waste handling. She did not receive jail time.
After six months of Giese failing to pay her self-storage rent, management at the facility cut the lock on her unit and found nearly two dozen 55-gallon drums of a strange liquid. This finding launched an environmental and legal investigation. Hazmat crews later identified it as toxic acid that was dangerous to inhale. Environmental investigators later traced the acid to BenCor's plant in Brenham, 90 miles east of Austin.
Giese later confessed to paying a man to get rid of the waste. This man reportedly then paid another man in Austin to drop it off at the storage facility.
Pond Springs Mini Storage is part of a three-store self-storage operation, with all stores in the Austin area. The other facilities are Ben White Self Storage and Mopac Self Storage.