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U.S. EPA settles hazardous waste violation with Van Can’s Fontana, Calif. facility

Release Date: 03/29/2007
Contact Information: Maggie Witt, (415) 972-3370,

(03/29/07 -- SAN FRANCISCO) Thanks to a recent settlement between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Van Can Co. of Fontana, Calif., the company will soon install mechanisms to reduce its hazardous waste generation from its sheet metal cutting and coating operations from 10,000 gallons per year to less than 100 gallons per year.

Under the settlement, Van Can will purchase a new cleaning mechanism for $170,000 as part of a supplemental environmental project and pay a $3,900 fine to resolve federal hazardous waste violations.

Van Can will use the new cleaning mechanism for its coating machines instead of using solvents that result in hazardous waste. This new cleaning mechanism will be used to remove paint residue from the equipment and will reduce Van Can’s hazardous waste generation by 99 percent.

“We are pleased that Van Can has taken responsibility for its violations and encouraged to see the company adopt an innovative approach to resolve this case,” said Jeff Scott, the EPA’s Waste Management Division director for the Pacific Southwest. “This approach will have both immediate and lasting benefits for the environment.”

A valuable tool in the agency’s enforcement program, a supplemental environmental project allows a violator to offset a portion of its fine by investing in a project that will benefit the environment, in this case by preventing pollution from the use of solvents.

In February 2006, inspectors from the EPA found violations under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, including the storage of hazardous waste without a permit, the failure to close hazardous waste containers, and the failure to prevent releases of hazardous waste.

Van Can Co. promptly corrected the violations found during the inspection.

Van Can’s Fontana facility cuts and coats sheet metal used to manufacture cans with enamels or lacquers. Daily cleaning of the coating machine with solvents produces an ignitable hazardous waste.