ferrous scrap california
The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has been on a years-long campaign to impose strict standards on metal shredding plants.
Photo by Recycling Today staff.

California agency says shredder site needs cleanup

State’s DTSC says SA Recycling's Southern California shredder and export yard creates metal residue, affecting soil and water quality.

October 22, 2021

The Sacramento, California-based Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) says SA Recycling must investigate residual metal pollution levels at its metal shredding and exporting facility on Terminal Island at the Port of Los Angeles.

SA Recycling should “investigate the extent of soil, groundwater and ocean sediment contamination” on its property and an adjacent property at the site, which previously was operated by Simsmetal West LLC.

The facility has been operating since 1962, the agency says. DTSC claims its own investigations have “found metal shredder residue called light fibrous material on the pavement, in pavement cracks, on equipment and inside and over storm drains at a neighboring facility, Pasha Stevedoring & Terminals LP.”

Samples of that material exceeded hazardous waste levels for lead, cadmium and zinc, DTSC says, which adds that it has ordered SA Recycling to “curtail those releases and to develop a plan to clean up the contamination at the nearby facility.”

In 2017, DTSC says its inspectors “found treated metal shredder residue trapped in an outside wall” at SA Recycling and “elevated levels of zinc, copper, and lead in a huge on-site pile.” The following year, DTSC says metal shredder residue was detected in the adjacent Yusen Terminal yard and on New Dock Street to the south of the shredder yard.

The agency states, “The respondents must meet certain deadlines to take action to stop releases and submit required investigation reports to DTSC, including a workplan to determine the extent of contamination and for cleaning up the contamination they find. DTSC plans to notify the surrounding community so residents can become involved in any proposed cleanup plan.”

As the series of inspections indicates, the DTSC has made metals shredding a focus of its activities, with information about the campaign front and center on its website.

The agency previously tried to enforce emergency action against the entire sector, but that proposed action was withdrawn in September after a one-week comment period elicited feedback from the Washington-based Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) and other organizations.