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Tijuana/San Diego hazardous waste firms settle with U.S. EPA

Release Date: 7/19/2004
Contact Information: Francisco Arcaute, (213) 244-1815

      $25,000 fine for mishandling waste shipped from "maquiladoras" into the USA

    LOS ANGELES -- Three hazardous waste firms - one in Tijuana and two in San Diego -- have settled a legal action with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that requires them to pay $25,000 for violations of the federal hazardous waste law, known as the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.  

    The three companies -- Samex Environmental Services, Hazardous Materials Transportation, Inc. and Servicios Ambientales Mexicanos, S.A. de C.V. -- are being cited for violations involving improperly characterizing, manifesting and packaging hazardous waste that had been transported from Mexico into the United States.
    "Today's action proves that the EPA will go after any company -- U.S. or foreign -- that violates hazardous waste laws in the U.S.  We won't let a border be a shield against liability for violations," said Jeff Scott, Waste Management Director of the EPA.
    Samex collects, transports and arranges for disposal in the United States of hazardous waste from "maquiladoras" (foreign owned assembly plants) in Mexico.  Under Mexican law, maquiladoras must dispose of their hazardous wastes in the United States.

    Among the violations alleged by the U.S. EPA were: two loads of hazardous waste that burst into flame, one at the customs port at Otay Mesa, the other on the open road in Riverside County.  All of the violations occurred in the United States.
    According to EPA regulations, all shipments of hazardous waste in the U.S. must be properly characterized, packaged, labeled and manifested.