Naso Industries Inc., a Ventura-based manufacturer of electronics parts, has been ordered to pay $8,000 in civil penalties for what prosecutors have described as improper storage and transport of hazardous waste.
The fine is the result of a settlement announced Monday by the environmental protection division of the Ventura County district attorney's office, which charged Naso with negligence in the handling hazardous materials.
Naso agreed to the settlement without admitting wrongdoing.
For more than a year, Naso manufactured circuit boards with machines that used lead-based materials to adhere components to the boards. According to prosecutors, the process produced a potentially harmful waste called "dross."
In July 1996, the county's environmental health department warned Naso that dross must be properly stored and disposed of because of its powdery composition and lead content.
But a year later, prosecutors said, Naso handed more than 600 pounds of the powdery substance to a waste hauler who was not permitted to transport it.
Prosecutors said the manufacturer also stored the waste in unmarked, uncovered containers for a year in violation of state regulations.
Brad Kennedy, vice president of the company, said Naso was duped by the hauler. He said Naso never left its containers uncovered, and added that the metal drums were marked "hazardous" even though the contents were not labeled on the outside.
"It's splitting hairs," he said. "It was stored properly, it wasn't labeled properly."
As part of the settlement, Naso was ordered to pay penalties, restitution and attorney's fees.
The manufacturer is also bound by an injunction.