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U.S. EPA settles with Southern California electronics firm over toxic chemical release reporting violations

Release Date: 8/5/2005
Contact Information: Francisco Arcaute, 213-244-1815

LOS ANGELES -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently eliminated a $76,000 penalty against Balboa Instruments, Inc. for voluntarily disclosing its failure to submit toxic chemical reports, violations of the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act.

Balboa Instruments, Inc. manufactures electronics for pool and hot tub use at its facility on 1382 Bell Ave., in Tustin, Calif. Between 2001 - 2003, Balboa Instruments, Inc. failed to submit timely Toxic Chemical Release Inventory Reporting forms documenting its releases of lead, which was processed at its facility in amounts that exceeded the annual regulatory threshold.

“We are pleased with the swift and responsible action taken by Balboa Instruments, Inc., as it is the responsibility of all companies to do the required reporting,” said Enrique Manzanilla, Communities and Ecosystems Division Director for EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “It is critical that all facilities that use chemicals follow our reporting rules so that we can inform area residents and emergency response personnel of possible chemical hazards in the environment.”

Under the EPA's Audit Policy, the EPA may reduce penalties up to 100 percent for violations that are voluntarily discovered, promptly disclosed to the agency and quickly corrected. Because Balboa self-disclosed the reporting errors and met additional criteria, the agency applied the Audit Policy, reducing the potential $78,637 fine to zero.

Enacted in 1986, the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act requires that reports detailing toxic chemical releases and waste management activities be submitted annually. Facilities that don’t submit timely reports not only fail to comply with the annual reporting requirement but fail to make toxic release data available to states and the public in a timely manner.