News Releases from Region 09
EPA requires Southern California metal finishers to stop illegal hazardous waste releases, wastewater discharges
LOS ANGELES -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today the resolution of a series of enforcement actions at five Southern California metal finishing companies which will collectively pay more than $223,700 in civil penalties for hazardous waste and Clean Water Act violations. The violations were uncovered during inspections conducted at facilities in the cities of Compton, Paramount, Ontario, and Sun Valley. Three facilities are located along the I-710 freeway corridor where the effects of pollution are disproportionately higher on local residents than in other areas of Los Angeles County.
"This multi-year effort in Southern California is part of EPA's commitment to bring environmental justice to residents and workers in communities unfairly burdened by the risks from hazardous waste," said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA's Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. "Metal plating facilities, often located close to neighborhoods, must ensure they comply with federal laws to prevent harm to the community and the environment."
Metal finishers use a plating or anodizing process to coat industrial metal, and typically generate hazardous wastes including: sludges containing heavy metals such as chromium, cadmium, and lead; spent plating solutions containing metals or cyanides; flammable liquids; and both alkaline and acidic corrosive liquids. The federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act requires metal finishing companies to properly manage hazardous waste to prevent harm to human health and the environment.
Anaplex has agreed to pay a $142,200 penalty for violations found at its Paramount, Calif. facility. An EPA investigation in August 2010 found that the facility failed to treat pollutants in its industrial wastewater, such as cadmium, nickel and zinc, before being discharged into the Los Angeles County Sanitation District sewer system which enters into the Pacific Ocean-a violation of the Clean Water Act. In addition, EPA discovered several hazardous waste violations including failure to properly label and close hazardous waste containers. Anaplex also failed to properly meet training requirements for its employees and did not operate the facility in a way that minimizes the possibility of hazardous waste being released into the environment. In January 2011, EPA ordered Anaplex to cease violations of the Clean Water Act, and in August 2011, EPA issued Anaplex a Notice of Violations requiring correction of the hazardous waste violations. The proposed consent decree, filed concurrently with the complaint in U.S. District Court, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and court approval and is available at: http://www.justice.gov/enrd/consent-decrees.
In addition, four other cases were completed over the past year:
Barkens Hard Chrome
Barkens has agreed to pay $28,100 in penalties to resolve hazardous waste violations found at its Compton, Calif. facility. In October 2010, an EPA investigation with the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board and the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health discovered that the facility was in violation of federal hazardous waste regulations, including failure to minimize the release of hazardous waste; failure to meet certification requirements for tanks used to transfer, store or treat hazardous waste; and failure to have proper decontamination equipment. In addition, the facility did not have the proper contingency plan for emergencies or adequate training records for its employees.
Bowman Plating Company, Inc.
Bowman has agreed to pay a $9,900 penalty to resolve hazardous waste violations found at its Compton, Calif. facility. An EPA investigation in October of 2011 found that the facility failed to minimize releases of hazardous waste and did not have a permit to store certain hazardous waste streams on-site. In addition, EPA documented that Bowman failed to properly close containers, and did not maintain adequate aisle space for stored hazardous waste.
Alumin-Art Plating Company
Alumin-Art has agreed to pay a $28,000 penalty to resolve hazardous waste violations found at its Ontario, Calif. facility. An EPA investigation in August 2012 found that the facility did not have a permit to store and treat hazardous waste. In addition, EPA found additional hazardous waste violations such as failure to close a container and failure to meet necessary training requirements for its employees.
R.L. Anodizing and Plating, Inc.
R.L. Anodizing has agreed to pay a $15,500 penalty to resolve hazardous waste violations at its Sun Valley, Calif. facility. In June 2011, EPA found that the facility was storing hazardous waste without the proper permit. In addition, several violations were found including improper labeling, storing and maintenance of containers holding hazardous waste.
Southern California's I-710 freeway passes through 15 cities and unincorporated areas including Compton and Paramount where the effects of pollution are disproportionately higher than in other areas of Los Angeles County. Approximately one million people, about 70% of whom are minority and low-income households, are severely impacted by industrial activities and goods movement in the area. In a multi-year effort, federal, state, and local governments and nonprofit organizations are working together to improve the environmental and public health conditions for residents along this corridor.
For more information on The Clean Water Act, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/lawsregs/laws/cwa.html
For more information on the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/civil/rcra/index.html
For more information on EPA's work at the I-710 corridor, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/region9/strategicplan/i710.html