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Release Date: 9/22/1995
Contact Information: Dave Schmidt, U.S. EPA, (415) 744-1578

(San Francisco)--The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) today announced that it has reached a settlement with Lunday-Thagard Company Inc., in which the company will pay a $255,000 penalty for illegally discharging oil, grease, ammonia, and other toxic chemicals into Los Angeles County sewers, in violation of the pretreatment requirements of the Clean Water Act (CWA).  The penalty will be shared equally by the federal government and Los Angeles County Sanitation District No. 2.

     "This case is a good example of how local and federal governments are working together to clean up Santa Monica Bay by enforcing the Clean Water Act," said Alexis Strauss, U.S. EPA's regional water management division director.
     The complaint that initiated this action, filed in the United States District Court in Los Angeles, states that the Lunday-Thagard oil refinery in South Gate discharged inadequately treated wastewater to the county sewer system between February 1990 and November 1994. During this period, the wastewater discharges contained 60,000 lbs. of oil and grease, 12,000 lbs. of ammonia, and over 4,000 lbs. of other toxics in excess of local or federal discharge limits.  These substances can pass through wastewater treatment facilities designed to handle regular sewage, thus polluting waterways -- in this case, the Santa Monica Bay -- and harming not only fish and wildlife, but people who swim in the Bay or eat contaminated fish.

     The violations were discovered when representatives of U.S. EPA and the Sanitation District inspected the Lunday-Thagard refinery.  U.S. EPA subsequently issued an order seeking compliance with the CWA and local discharge limits set by the Sanitation District.  Lunday-Thagard's refinery then eliminated the use of ammonia for corrosion control and installed activated carbon beds to treat the refinery's wastewater before discharging it into the sewer system.  The facility is now in compliance.

     Many sewage treatment plants are not equipped to effectively treat industrial waste.  The CWA sets pretreatment standards to limit the amount of metals and chemicals discharged by industries to sewer systems.  Companies must treat their chemical wastewater to remove harmful pollutants and meet the standards before discharging these wastes to a treatment facility.
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