Bryan Cohen Jun. 28, 2013, 6:06pm

CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) -- Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan on Thursday announced a 61-count lawsuit against the Indiana-based Petco Petroleum Corp. for alleged water pollution violations.

Madigan filed the complaint with the Illinois Pollution Control Board, alleging Petco Petroleum is the worst polluter in Illinois oil production industry.

Petco Petroleum allegedly repeatedly failed to maintain and upgrade its drilling equipment and wells to prevent spills into waterways and onto the ground.

The lawsuit seeks an order that would require Petco Petroleum to pay civil penalties to deter further spills and develop an effective plan of preventive maintenance.

"Petco Petroleum's record demonstrates that it has repeatedly violated the state's environmental laws," Madigan said in a statement. "The company must pay for its pollution and be required to take preventative steps."

Petco Petroleum is authorized to operate 400 injection wells and 1,200 oil wells. Producers like Petco use a production method that involves pumping salt water into wells to extract crude oil from the ground.

In 1999, Petco Petroleum was found guilty of violating the Illinois Environmental Protection Act and was ordered to pay attorney fees, pay civil penalties and submit a preventive maintenance plan.

In 2005, an enforcement action was filed against the company for 168 alleged spills.

In 2006, the IPCB ordered the company to stop violating the Environmental Protection Act and imposed civil penalties.

In total, $350,000 in civil penalties were levied on Petco Petroleum.

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