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5 Finishers Settle EPA Claims

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

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LOS ANGELES—A multiyear federal investigation into metal finishing in Southern California has ended with nearly $224,000 in environmental fines against five companies.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced settlements Thursday (May 14) with the companies after inspections at facilities in four cities showed hazardous-waste and Clean Water Act violations.

LASmog
Diliff / CC BY-SA 3.0

Five metal finishing operations reached settlements for hazardous-waste violations around Los Angeles. The EPA cited all five for multiple hazardous-waste violations years ago.

Three of the five facilities are located along the I-710 freeway corridor, where the effects of pollution are disproportionately higher on local residents than in other areas of Los Angeles County.

Protecting Communities

Metal finishers use a plating or anodizing process to coat industrial metal and typically generate hazardous wastes including:

  • Sludges containing heavy metals such as chromium, cadmium, and lead;
  • Spent plating solutions containing metals or cyanides;
  • Flammable liquids; and
  • Both alkaline and acidic corrosive liquids.

The federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act requires metal finishing companies to properly manage hazardous waste.

“This multi-year effort in Southern California is part of EPA’s commitment to bring environmental justice to residents and workers in communities unfairly burdened by the risks from hazardous waste,” said the EPA Regional Administrator Jared Blumenfeld.

“Metal plating facilities, often located close to neighborhoods, must ensure they comply with federal laws to prevent harm to the community and the environment.”

The five companies that reached agreements follow.

Anaplex Corp.

Anaplex has agreed to pay a $142,200 penalty for violations at its facility in Paramount, CA.

An EPA investigation in August 2010 found that the plant failed to treat cadmium, nickel, zinc and other pollutants in its industrial wastewater before it was discharged into the Los Angeles County Sanitation District sewer system. That system enters into the Pacific Ocean.

In addition, EPA cited several hazardous-waste violations, including failure to properly label and close hazardous-waste containers.

I-710/105
Remi Jouan / CC BY-SA 3.0

About one million people are "severely impacted" by industrial activities in the I-710 corridor, the EPA said. A multi-year effort by governments and nonprofits in the region is underway to  improve the environmental and public health conditions in the corridor.

EPA also says the company failed to properly meet training requirements for employees and did not operate the plant in a way that minimized the risk of hazardous waste being released into the environment.

In January 2011, EPA ordered Anaplex to cease violations of the Clean Water Act; in August 2011, EPA issued  a Notice of Violations requiring correction of the violations.

The proposed consent decree, filed concurrently with the complaint in U.S. District Court, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and court approval.

Established in 1962, Anaplex is a military contractor that bills itself as the "premiere metal processing company in Southern California."

Barkens Hard Chrome

Barkens has agreed to pay $28,100 in fines to resolve hazardous-waste violations at its plant in Compton, CA.

BarkensHardChrome
Barkens Hard Chrome

Founded in 1942 as Superior Chrome Plating Company, Barkens Hard Chrome will pay $28,100 in fines for hazardous-waste violations. EPA first cited the Compton, CA, facility in 2010.

In October 2010, an EPA investigation with city and county authorities found violations of federal hazardous- waste regulations, including failure to:

  • Minimize the release of hazardous waste;
  • Meet certification requirements for tanks used to transfer, store or treat hazardous waste;
  • Have proper decontamination equipment; and
  • Have a proper contingency plan for emergencies or adequate training records for its employees.

Bowman Plating Company Inc.

Bowman has agreed to pay a $9,900 penalty to resolve violations at its Compton plant. An EPA investigation in October 2011 found that the facility had failed to minimize hazardous-waste releases and had no permit to store certain hazardous waste streams.

EPA also documented that Bowman had failed to close containers properly and did not maintain adequate aisle space for stored hazardous waste.

Alumin-Art Plating Company

Alumin-Art has agreed to pay a $28,000 fine for violations at its plant in Ontario, CA. An EPA investigation in August 2012 found that the plant had no permit to store and treat hazardous waste.

In addition, EPA cited violations for failure to close a container and failure to meet training requirements for employees.

R.L. Anodizing and Plating Inc.

R.L. Anodizing will pay a $15,500 fine for violations at its Sun Valley facility. In June 2011, EPA found that the plant was storing hazardous waste without the proper permit. Other violations included improper labeling, storage and maintenance of hazardous-waste containers.

About one million people are "severely impacted" by industrial activities in the targeted area, the EPA said. Federal, state and local governments and nonprofit organizations are working together in a multi-year effort to improve the environmental and public health conditions for residents along this corridor.

   

Tagged categories: Clean Water Act; Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); Hazardous air pollutants; hazardous materials; Hazardous waste; Health & Safety; Health and safety; Metal coatings; North America

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