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30 Accused Toxic Dumpers Now in Compliance

Times Staff Writer

Thirty out of the 36 Los Angeles-area electroplating companies accused last October of discharging untreated cyanide and other toxic chemicals directly into sewers are now in compliance with the law, local and federal authorities said Friday.

Of the remaining six, three have gone out of business, two are nearly in compliance and one company is being sold, they said.

The enforcement action is “a complete success,” said Edward Esfandi, a project engineer with the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts. “It’s like a chain reaction. As a result of this action a lot of other companies that were not in compliance have cleaned up their act.”

Last fall, the 36 firms were cited for willfully violating federal clean water standards by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts during an unprecedented crackdown. The joint effort came after repeated efforts in which the agencies urged the firms to comply with the federal Clean Water Act as well as local water quality standards.

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Exceeded Standards by 90%

Some of those sewer discharges exceeded federal standards by 90%, and authorities said the chemicals could threaten sanitation workers, damage equipment and pollute the ocean. About half of the 36 firms reportedly discharged untreated cyanide directly into the sewer system. Other substances involved included cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, zinc, nickel and silver.

No fines have been collected from any of the 36 firms. Most of the firms complied by a Feb. 5 deadline. Had they failed to comply by then, company officials were liable to one year in jail and/or fines of $2,500 to $25,000 a day if found to be in willful or negligent violation of the order.

Negotiations are continuing over the amount of fines between the U.S. attorney’s office and three of the firms that are now in compliance but whose past violations were of greater “magnitude” than the others. Those three firms were identified Friday by Esfandi as Aerodynamic Plating of Gardena, Cal-Style Furniture Manufacturing Co. of Compton and Super-Tech of La Verne.

Firms Out of Business

Esfandi said three other firms cited in October have gone out of business. They were identified as Imperial Plating Co. of Huntington Park, J. D. Plating Co. of South El Monte and Modern Faucet Manufacturing Co./Sphinx Plating of Walnut Park.

Esfandi said Model Plating Co. of Bell Gardens and Surface Engineering of Commerce were nearly in compliance and could be expected to meet discharge requirements soon if they haven’t already. He said Darnell Corp. Ltd. of Downey has not installed equipment to bring its discharges within legal limits but has subcontracted out some of its business in an effort to meet standards. Esfandi also said Darnell Corp. is being sold.

Following is a list of the 30 electroplating firms that had been cited in in October and are now in compliance:

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Aerodynamic Plating, Gardena; Aerojet Ordnance, Downey; Allied Plating, Compton; American Standard Circuit Labs, Pomona; Anchor Plating Co. Inc., South El Monte; Cal Bumper Co., Long Beach; Cal-Style Furniture Mfg. Co., Compton; ElectroEtch Circuits, Inglewood; Endemano Plating Co., Huntington Park.

Gardena Specialized Processing, Gardena; Industrial Plating Corp., Long Beach; Keystone Products, Ontario; Lubeco Inc., Compton; Monadnock Co., Industry; Monitor Polishing & Plating, Pasadena; Monogram/Aerospace Fasterners, Commerce; Pemaco Metal Processing, Alhambra; Pico Rivera Plating Co., Pico Rivera; Punch Press Products Inc., Vernon.

Safe Plating Inc., Industry; Sigma Plating Co., La Puente; Specific Plating Co., Commerce; Super-Tech, La Verne; Teledyne Relays, Hawthorne; Thomas Plating, Pomona; Tool & Jig Plating, Whittier; Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Long Beach; Trident Plating Corp. Commerce; Vacco Industries, South El Monte, and Weslock Corp., Willowbrook.


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