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Oakland, Calif. metal finisher agrees to pay the U.S. EPA $15,000

Release Date: 10/14/2004
Contact Information: Laura Gentile, 415/760-9161

SAN FRANCISCO -- Recently the previous owner of an abandoned metal plating facility in Oakland, Calif. agreed to pay the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency $15,000 toward costs incurred by the agency to clean up vats, drums and containers of chemicals at the site three years ago.

Donald Dean, previous owner of Cal-Tech Metal Finishers facility, 841 31st St, in Oakland, will pay the EPA for costs incurred in removing abandoned drums of chemicals at the site. The EPA cleaned up at least at least 100 vats containing thousands of gallons of chemical solutions.

The chemicals found at the site included chromium trioxide, calcium hydroxide and other acidic, caustic and cyanide solutions. The chemicals were stored improperly and dangerously with the potential to cause a catastrophic release.

During an inspection conducted in 2001, inspectors from the Oakland’s Fire Department discovered the drums and containers of hazardous chemicals. After the inspectors ordered the company to remove the chemicals, the company abandoned the site. Shortly thereafter, the EPA cleaned up the site.

"The EPA removed a significant threat to the environment by cleaning up the chemicals at this site," said Keith Takata, director of the EPA's Superfund division in San Francisco. "The money we will receive through this settlement can be used to fund other cleanups in the future."

Cal-Tech operated as an electroplater in Oakland for at least 30 years before ceasing operations in early 2001. The company provided a complete range of industrial metal finishing services. In 1992, Dean had sold his interest in the company but continued working with the new owners as a consultant.