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Finishing Companies OK $196K EPA Deal

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

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Three Southern California metal painting and finishing companies will spend a total of nearly $200,000 to resolve federal hazardous-waste and clean-water violations, under a new agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency.

 Morrell’s ElectroPlating

 Morrell’s ElectroPlating

 Two of the three companies cited provide painting and finishing services for the aerospace industry.

The settlement caps EPA investigations into activities by the facilities along the I-710 freeway corridor, where the effects of pollution are disproportionately higher than in other areas of Los Angeles County. The freeway region, which is home to more than 1 million residents, has been a Geographic Focus of EPA enforcement activity.

3 Companies Cited

Under the settlement announced Monday (Sept. 10):

• AAA Plating and Inspection, of Compton, CA, will pay $74,000 in fines for failure to treat its industrial wastewater to federal standards before discharge into the Los Angeles County sewer system;

• Morrell’s Electro Plating, also of 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; and

• Service Plating Co. Inc., of 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.”

Painting, Plating and Finishing

AAA Plating is a metal finishing company that cleans, plates, coats, paints, and tests various parts for the aerospace industry. The company’s 50,000-square-foot facility has been in operation for more than 40 years.

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 that are hauled away for proper disposal off site, according to EPA. This will result in the facility becoming a zero-discharge permitted facility.

Morrell’s is a metal finishing/chemical processing company that the aerospace and defense industries. The company, which dates to 1950, operates out of an 80,000-square foot facility. In October 2010, EPA inspectors found several violations of federal environmental laws, 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, EPA said, in its mismanagement.

The facility’s new sludge dryer, used to remove water and reduce volume, will improve efficiency and reduce the amount of hazardous waste that must be disposed, EPA said. The dryer is expected to slash the amount of hazardous waste generated at the facility by about 85% per day.

Service Plating, a metal finishing company, ran afoul of federal hazardous-waste regulations in a routine inspection last October. EPA investigators reported that the company had failed to properly close and label hazardous waste containers; and failed to properly label, contain and date discarded fluorescent lamps.

Southern California’s I-710 freeway passes through 15 cities and unincorporated areas where about 70% of the population is minority and low-income households. Residents 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.


Tagged categories: Enforcement; EPA; Hazardous waste; Metal coatings; Metals

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