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Plant Told to Stop Dumping in Riverbed

A local chemical company producing industrial cleaning solvents has been ordered to stop dumping solid wastes into the Ventura River by the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

The company, Envirolene, which blends solvents for use on oil field equipment and at waste water treatment plants, was ordered by the EPA earlier this month to cease dumping materials including dirt, asphalt and concrete rubble into the riverbed.

Dan Meer, chief of Clean Water Act Compliance for the EPA’s regional office in San Francisco, said the agency took action against Envirolene after receiving a tip from a citizen.

Environmental groups, including Friends of the Ventura River, have alleged that Envirolene has discharged several thousand cubic yards of rubble, fill dirt and other solid wastes from its plant site at 4285 Crooked Palm Road, near Ventura Avenue.

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The fill, dumped over the past two years, has altered the river’s course and destroyed habitat for fish and other wildlife, such as steelhead and rainbow trout, the groups alleged.

Investigations by the EPA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the state Department of Fish and Game revealed that neither Envirolene nor any of its contractors had filed permits to dump fill material in the riverbed.

Envirolene’s owner, Ray Martin, was unavailable for comment.

EPA officials have requested that Martin turn over information detailing Envirolene’s business structure and ownership, names of contractors who dumped the wastes and the reason for disposing of them without a permit.

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The agency has also begun an investigation of the incident, Meer said. Depending on the EPA’s findings, Envirolene could be fined or subjected to further legal action.


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