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Van Nuys facility agrees to $100,000 fine

June 29, 2011 |  5:56 pm

A Van Nuys metal-plating business has agreed to pay a $100,000 fine to settle charges that it mishandled hazardous waste.

Inspectors from the Environmental Protection Agency and Los Angeles County Fire Department found that Crown Chrome Plating, a division of TMW Corp., a supplier of transportation services, had multiple hazardous wastes on site without a permit in April 2009, a violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. There were also four other waste-handling violations associated with having the materials in the facility. 

The hazardous material included paint wastes, alkaline and acidic corrosive liquids, and sludges containing heavy metals such as chromium and lead, which the EPA said were not properly stored or handled. Staff also was not trained in proper handling of the materials, EPA said.

“The toxic wastes and sludges at the Crown Chrome facility have the potential to pose a danger to employees, the surrounding community and the environment,” said Jared Blumenfeld, the EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. 

The county pursued state violations, and the corporation agreed to pay a $10,000 penalty in July 2009; the EPA pursued federal violations, filing a complaint against the corporation in August 2010. The case was settled Tuesday.

TMW Corp. is complying with federal law and will pay a fine of $100,000, according to EPA spokesman Francisco Arcaute. The company did not respond to requests for comment.

Mimi Newton, an EPA regional counsel, said officials warn facilities when they will be inspecting.

“You need to look at federal and state regulations,” said Newton. “There is a lot of them, but when you’re in the metal plating business it’s your responsibility to know them.”

Newton attributed many of the violations to mismanagement, but said the EPA thought the violations were “big enough failures we thought it was important enough to penalize them.”

The EPA's hazardous waste rules require facilities to properly store, label and seal hazardous waste containers.  acilities must also have properly trained staff. 

The EPA discovered the following violations at TMW Corp.’s facility: Storage of hazardous waste for over 90 days without a permit, failure to conduct required inspections, failure to train personnel or maintain training records, failure to maintain required emergency communications equipment, failure to make a hazardous waste determination.


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-- Ashlie Rodriguez (Twitter: @ashlierodriguez)