Metal companies fined for hazardous waste

COMPTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Monday announced the conclusion of three recent investigations of Southern California metal finishing companies which will collectively spend more than $196,650 for hazardous waste and Clean Water Act violations.All three facilities are located along the I-710 freeway corridor where the effects of pollution are disproportionately higher than in other areas of Los Angeles County. AAA Plating and Inspection, located in Compton, has agreed to pay $74,000 in fines for failure to treat their industrial wastewater to federal standards before discharge into the Los Angeles County sewer system. Morrell's Electro Plating, also located in Compton, will pay $19,500 in fines for the improper management and treatment of hazardous waste. In addition, Morrell's will spend at least $100,000 on the purchase and installation of a sludge dryer, reducing hazardous waste generated at the facility by 336 pounds a day. Service Plating Co. Inc., located in Los Angeles, will pay $3,150 for failure to properly label hazardous waste containers at its facility. "The violation of federal regulations at metal finishing companies poses a risk to workers, as well as surrounding residents," said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA's Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. "EPA will continue to rigorously enforce against facilities like these especially those located in the I-710 corridor, a priority area for the agency." AAA Plating is a metal finishing company that cleans, plates, coats, paints, and tests various parts for the aerospace industry. In March, 2010, an EPA investigation discovered that the facility had discharged industrial wastewater to the Los Angeles County sewer system above federal limits for toxics such as chromium, cadmium, nickel and cyanide -a violation of the Clean Water Act. EPA's standards are designed to protect municipal sewer systems and wastewater treatment plants from adverse effects of toxic discharges, including the potential pass through of toxic metals to the Pacific Ocean. AAA Plating has installed equipment to reduce liquid from the wastewater, leaving only solids which are hauled away for proper disposal off site. This will result in the facility becoming a zero-discharge permitted facility. Morrell's is a metal finishing/chemical processing company which does work primarily for the aerospace industry. In an October 27, 2010 inspection, EPA found several violations including failure to properly label and cover hazardous waste and conducting treatment of hazardous waste without a permit. In addition, Morrell's failed to properly identify waste generated at its facility as federally regulated hazardous waste -- resulting in its mismanagement. Morrell's will also spend at least $100,000 to purchase and install a sludge dryer at its facility. Used to remove water and reduce volume, the sludge dryer will improve efficiency and reduce the amount of hazardous waste that must be disposed. The addition of the sludge dryer will result in the reduction of hazardous waste generated at Morrell's by 336 pounds a day, approximately 85% of the facility's daily production - reducing the potential for similar violations in the future. Service Plating is a metal finishing company. During a routine inspection in October 4, 2011, EPA investigators discovered federal violations including failure to properly close and label hazardous waste containers. In addition, the company failed to properly label, contain and date discarded fluorescent lamps, a violation of federal regulations for universal waste. Southern California's I-710 freeway passes through 15 cities and unincorporated areas where the effects of pollution are disproportionately higher than in other areas of Los Angeles County. Approximately 1 million people, about 70% of whom are minority and low-income households, are severely impacted by industrial activities and goods movement in the area. In a multi-year effort, federal, state, and local governments and nonprofit organizations are working together to improve the environmental and public health conditions for residents along this corridor.

********** Published: September 13, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 22