Refinery Fined $700,000 by Water Quality Board

The Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board fined a Wilmington refinery $700,000 Wednesday for dumping too much polluted water into the Dominguez Channel.

The fine--one of the largest in the board's 50-year history--was assessed against the Los Angeles Refining Co., a division of Equilon Enterprises that formerly was owned by Texaco. The refinery on Pacific Coast Highway discharges up to 4 million gallons of treated waste water a day into the channel.

According to the board, the refinery exceeded the pollution limits outlined in its discharge permit at least 87 times over the last three years.

In addition, the board said, the company violated the California Water Code by not reporting that it had exceeded effluent limitations on a number of occasions.

The board said the pollutants included oil, acids, chromium, chlorine and suspended solids.

Equilon can elect to pay up to $525,000 of the $700,000 fine by committing $551,000 in unspecified environmental projects. A proposal for such projects must be submitted to the board by Nov. 12.

At its regularly scheduled meeting today, the board will consider imposing more stringent limits on the company and issuing a cease-and-desist order bringing the refinery into full compliance within two years. The company has indicated that it will stop discharging waste water into the channel.

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