The city of Los Angeles has charged four Los Angeles-area scrap metal recyclers with criminal misdemeanor charges for environmental violations. In a release, Los Angeles’ City Attorney Carmen Trutanich has announced that the department’s Environmental Justice Unit has filed criminal misdemeanor charges against the four companies following a coordinated a multi-agency sweep and inspection of the facilities in January and February 2012 that were designed to determine compliance with environmental safety requirements.
Assistant City Attorney Patricia Bilgin is prosecuting all of the cases.
“The mishandling and unlawful release of toxic chemicals and water pollutants pose a serious threat to the health and safety of our residents,” says Trutanich. “Facilities that use such hazardous substances have the obligation to properly store and dispose of their wastes, and will be held accountable when they unlawfully fail to do so.”
Central Metal Inc. and its president Jong Uk Byun were charged with three violations of waste discharge requirements of the company's permit by allegedly allowing the discharge of stormwater containing toxic chemicals, such as copper, lead and zinc, and failing to implement best management practices designed to prevent releases of toxic chemicals by allowing lead pipes and aluminum to be stored on the ground, allowing bins containing metal scrap to remain open and peeling, allowing sediment to seep onto a nearby street and causing an oil spill; five violations for failing to label hazardous waste containers; and failing to maintain the facility to prevent spills or releases of hazardous waste. The water code violations carry a maximum penalty of $25,000 for each day of violation and one year in jail. Hazardous waste violations pose a maximum penalty of six months in jail and $1,000 for each day of violation. The inspection occurred Jan. 26, 2012. Arraignment is scheduled for July 26, 2012.
C&M Metals Inc. and owner Don Monroe were charged with one violation of illegally disposing of hazardous waste; six violations for failing to label hazardous waste containers and allowing hazardous waste to accumulate on site for more than 180 days; three violations of the company's waste discharge permit for discharging storm water containing chemical oxygen, aluminum, copper, iron, lead and zinc; two violations for allowing oil spills, contamination and uncovered electronic scrap to be present at the facility; and one violation for failure to provide the Los Angeles Fire Department with a business plan and annual inventory form for their chemical products. The inspection occurred Feb. 9, 2012. Penalties for the illegal disposal of hazardous waste carry a maximum penalty of one year in jail and up to $100,000 in fines. The water code violations carry a maximum penalty of $25,000 for each day of violation and one year in jail, and the hazardous waste violations a maximum penalty of six months in jail and $1,000 for each day of violation. Arraignment is scheduled for July 26, 2012.
Geovedy Cifuentes, doing business as CDL Scrap Metal, and its manager, Waihner Antonio Cifuentes, were each charged with seven violations for failing to properly label hazardous waste containers; failing to immediately transfer waste oil from a severely dented 55-gallon drum into one in good working order; failing to maintain the facility to prevent the spill and release of hazardous waste by allowing used oil to remain on the ground near motor parts, rotors and CV boots; allowing leaking oil on the ground by the storage area for the scrap containing compressed gas cylinders; allowing more than 10 unprocessed refrigerators commingled with piles of metal scraps; and allowing metal scraps containing oil and anti-freeze to be placed in recycling piles before they are drained of hazardous wastes; failing to provide personnel trainingl failing to provide logs documenting weekly inspection of the facility; failing to obtain a valid EPA identification number; failing to properly manage used oil filters; one violation for failing to implement proper BMPs; and one violation for illegally discharging a pollutant into the storm drain. The hazardous waste violations carry a maximum penalty of six months in jail and $1,000 for each day of violation. The remaining violations carry a maximum $1,000 fine and six months in jail. The inspection occurred Feb. 24, 2012. Arraignment is scheduled for July 26.
MG Paint, a facility that was previously prosecuted by the Los Angeles’ City Attorney and is currently on probation, was reinspected and found to be in violation of the state’s hazardous waste control laws and was cited by LA City Watershed for failing to prevent, control and reduce storm water pollutants in two uncovered storage areas where two 55-gallon drums were observed rusty and leaking flammable paints. A probation violation hearing has been scheduled for July 13, 2012.