Firm’s Owner Gets Jail in Hazardous Waste Disposal Case

The owner of a Northridge manufacturing firm who pleaded no contest to illegally disposing of hazardous wastes was sentenced Monday to 90 days in County Jail and ordered to pay $100,000 toward the cleanup.

Van Nuys Superior Court Judge Kathryne Ann Stoltz also sentenced San Cheng Lai, 48, to five years probation.

Lai, owner of Lai Circuits, which manufactured circuit boards, pleaded no contest Nov. 2 to illegal disposal of hazardous waste.

Authorities ordered the plant closed after discovering problems at the site in 1985 and 1986. Extensive soil contamination was found as deep as 15 feet, the probation report said, and the cost of cleanup was estimated at “hundreds of thousands of dollars.”


Lai, of Woodland Hills, said he was not aware of waste control laws and had delegated responsibility for disposal and storage of chemicals to his employees.

“All of these mishappenings are due to my inexperience in printed circuit board manufacturing,” Lai said in the probation report. “I wasn’t familiar enough with society’s laws and American culture.”