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Release Date: 7/8/2002
Contact Information: Mark Merchant, U.S. EPA, 415-947-4297, Stephen Cain, Los Angeles RWQCB, 213-576-6694

     Facilities failed to comply with state and federal storm water runoff regulations

LOS ANGELES  The Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that 20 Los Angeles-area companies have been cited for failing to comply with federal and state storm water control requirements.

The companies violated their National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System or NPDES permits, which serve to prevent contaminated storm water runoff from entering local and regional storm drain systems. The Los Angeles RWQCB issued two notices of violations to these companies.

The Los Angeles RWQCB also issued cash penalties ranging from $3,930 to $6,530 to five of the 20 companies. In addition, the board issued one cleanup and abatement order to Ace High Truck in Wilmington.

The U.S. EPA has issued formal enforcement orders to 19 other facilities that failed to correct problems cited in the two notices of violation from the Los Angeles RWQCB. These U.S. EPA orders require the companies to immediately correct violations, improve water runoff control practices, submit water control plans and annual record keeping reports.

"Preventing water polluted with oils, chemicals and other toxic substances from entering into storm drains is critical for protecting human health and the environment," said Dennis Dickerson, executive officer for the Regional Water Board.  "Once in the storm drain, contaminated water can be transported to ground water, a major source of drinking water, or to the ocean where it can be a hazard to swimmers and surfers, as well as birds and all types of aquatic life."

"Water quality is a serious issue and these companies must be responsible for the polluted water that leaves their facilities and enters coastal waters," said Wayne Nastri, regional administrator for the U.S. EPA's Pacific Southwest region. "You would not throw trash out your window and you can not flush your oil and chemical polluted water into the storm drains."

These enforcement orders and penalties came  after nearly 1,000 inspections of industrial facilities in Los Angeles and Ventura counties conducted jointly by the Los Angeles RWQCB and the U.S. EPA over the past year. More enforcement actions are expected as a result of these inspections.

The U.S. EPA and Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board are working together to inspect area businesses, identifying permit violations, taking enforcement action and assessing civil liability.

If these companies fail to correct the violations the state could assess penalties against each facility of up to $25,000 per violation, per day. The U.S. EPA may also penalize the companies $27,500 per violation, per day if they do not come into compliance.

Polluted storm water runoff is the leading cause of poor water quality in Southern California. Storm water becomes contaminated when it flows across a parking lot, street or other surface and mixes with pollutants such as gasoline, oil or other chemicals. Storm water is a critical source of replenishment for recharging basins and coastal waters, such as Santa Monica Bay.

The companies involved in this action are: Paramount Auto Dismantler in Paramount
     Millennium Auto Wrecking in Irwindale

West Side Recycling in Glendale

Thomas Auto Wreckers in Irwindale

Speedy Auto Dismantling in Duarte

Illinois Auto Wrecking in South El Monte

Basic Fibers, Inc. in Los Angeles

Hehr International in Los Angeles

AM-MEX Recycling Company in Los Angeles

Canales Vehicle Dismantling in Santa Fe Springs

World Auto Parts in Glendale

AB Auto Dismantling in Los Angeles

Mid Auto Dismantling and Sales in Wilmington

Junior Auto Wrecking in Sun Valley

C & T Auto Wrecking in Pomona

Foreign Auto Salvage

Royal Auto Dismantling, Inc. in Sun Valley

New Allied Auto Wrecking in Pasadena

South Coast Recycling

Ace High Truck in Wilmington

For more information visit the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board Web site at:

Or visit EPA's NPDES site at: