Van Nuys metal plater to pay hazardous waste fine

A Van Nuys metal-plating business has agreed to pay a $100,000 fine to settle charges that it mishandled hazardous waste.

Inspectors from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Los Angeles County Fire Department found that Crown Chrome Plating, a division of TMW Corp., a supplier of transportation services, had multiple hazardous wastes on site without a permit in April 2009, a violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. There were also four other waste-handling violations associated with having the materials in the facility.

The hazardous materials included paint wastes, alkaline and acidic corrosive liquids, and sludges containing heavy metals such as chromium and lead that the EPA said were not properly stored or handled. Staff members also were not trained in proper handling of the materials, the EPA said.

“The toxic wastes and sludges at the Crown Chrome facility have the potential to pose a danger to employees, the surrounding community and the environment,” said Jared Blumenfeld, the EPA’s regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest.


The county pursued state violations and the EPA pursued federal violations, filing a complaint against the corporation in August 2010. The case was settled Tuesday.

TMW Corp. is complying with federal law and will pay a fine of $100,000, according to the EPA. Representatives from the company did not respond to requests for comment.

Mimi Newton, an EPA associate counsel, said officials warn facilities when they will be inspecting.

“You need to look at federal and state regulations,” Newton said. “There is a lot of them; but when you’re in the metal-plating business, it’s your responsibility to know them.”

Newton attributed many of the violations to mismanagement but said the EPA thought the violations were “big enough failures” to warrant penalizing the company.