State Sues to Shut Down Salvage Yard : Anaheim Operation Threatens Water and Air, Health Officials Say

Times Staff Writer

An Anaheim steel salvage yard is a threat to public health and the environment and should be shut down until it stops operating illegally, state health officials alleged in a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Orange County Superior Court.

Hazardous wastes from the Orange County Steel Salvage Co. yard at 3200 E. Frontera Road have polluted the ground and pose a serious threat to ground-water supplies and the air, the suit alleges.

Cleanup Orders

The firm's president, George Adams Jr., has repeatedly ignored state orders to clean up 50,000 tons of shredded metal waste stored at the facility and continues to violate state laws, according to the suit, which was filed by the state Department of Health Services.

Adams could not be reached for comment.

Toxic substances in the mountain of waste, made up of shredded automobile bodies, appliances and other equipment, "are cumulative poisons that accumulate in the bones and soft tissues, particularly the brain," according to the lawsuit.

Repeated sampling has shown polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) levels at double those considered safe, the suit says.

Exposure to significant concentrations of PCBs poses risks of cancer and infertility, according to the suit.

The lawsuit alleges that continued operation of the yard poses a threat of both air and water pollution.

"The existing pile of 50,000 tons of hazardous waste on defendant's premises present a threat to public health and the environment in that defendant's business is located immediately adjacent to the ground-water recharge area for the Orange County Water District," according to the lawsuit.

PCB Danger Cited

Shredded waste has been known to catch fire, and if that happens "the smoke and soot from such a fire could contain hazardous substances, such as PCBs and lead," the lawsuit says.

The suit asks for an injunction blocking further waste disposal at the site, an order requiring a cleanup plan and unspecified fines for the allegedly continuing violations of state law.

Earlier this month, the Anaheim City Council rejected a move to close the salvage yard.

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