Key Enforcement Actions

Key Enforcement Cases 2014

Clearwater Environmental Management, Union City -- The arrest and felony charges filed against the operators of Clearwater Environmental Management, Inc., of Union City in February 2014 for illegally transporting and disposing of hazardous waste. Four felony counts were filed against the company owners when DTSC uncovered that they were illegally transporting waste without a license and using the identity of another transporter to truck waste. The investigation revealed that Clearwater’s transportation manifests stated the wastes were going to one facility, but that the trucks actually went elsewhere.

Electro-Forming Co., Richmond -- Following a series of enforcement actions, DTSC’s oversight efforts resulted in a guilty plea on Feb. 20, 2015, to four felony and nine misdemeanor charges by the owner of the Electro-Forming company in Richmond. The metal plating business had a history of hazardous waste violations including unlawful storage and treatment of waste,operating without a permit, and unlawful handling of wastes causing unreasonable risk of fire, explosion, serious injury or death. The owner faces three years in jail if she does not close the facility.In 2013, DTSC obtained a temporary restraining order against the facility that required the owner to remove hazardous waste including drums and a large Baker tank used to store plating wastes with high levels of cyanide and heavy metals. The wastes were removed.

Sims Metals, Redwood City -- In November 2014, the company agreed to pay $2.4 million to settle an enforcement case initiated by DTSC in which the department found that facility operations resulted in the airborne release of fibrous material that contained hazardous waste levels of lead, zinc and copper into the surrounding area. The company recycles scrap metal at its facility.

Waste Transporters Jose G. Sosa and Roy Paul Gressly -- In these two separate cases, DTSC pursued enforcement against two transporters that illegally managed, transported and disposed of hazardous waste. In the Sosa case, DTSC received a judgment of $243,000 and an agreement prohibiting the owner to transport hazardous waste again after DTSC found that he negligently disposed of 55-gallon drums of hazardous waste including flammables in a truck trailer outside a truck stop in Ripon, California. The judgment was handed down in January 2014.In the Gressly case, DTSC’s investigation resulted in the sentencing of the transporter on six felony counts. In January 2014, he received a 120-day jail sentence and three years of probation for illegal disposal and storage of hazardous waste, and unlawful transportation of hazardous waste. He was also ordered to pay $228,000 in restitution to former customers who had to clean up the hazardous waste he left behind, as well as a criminal fine of $7,500. He is prohibited from working in the hazardous waste business during his probation.

Tainted Jewelry, Los Angeles -- In January 2015, DTSC resolved four cases involving Los Angeles retailers that violated California’s laws aimed at protecting consumers from toxic levels of metals in jewelry. DTSC and the California Attorney General received a judgment of $145,000 against Luxy Accessory, Inc. for multiple violations of the Metal-Containing Jewelry Law and for falsely labeling some of the jewelry as being lead-free. Outshine Inc., Sun’s Trading Co. and Costar Group settled similar allegations for a total of about $67,000.These actions stem from multiple investigations by DTSC in conjunction with the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) into the Los Angeles jewelry industry in 2012.

Statewide Cases


Retailer

Date Settled

Total Settlement

Money Recouped by DTSC

     Safeway

    1/2/2015

    $9.87 million

    $236,000

     99 Cents Only

     12/24/2015

    $2.36 million

     $77,421

     AT&T

    11/20/2014

     $23.8 million

     $1.55 million

     Raley's

     8/8/2014

     $1.6 million

     $26,925

    Albertsons

     6/4/2014

    $2.74 million

     $25,970

     Lowe's

     4/1/2014

     $18.1 million

     $1.67 million

     Rite-Aid

     9/24/2013

     $12.3 million

     $130,000

     WinCo Foods

     6/5/2013

     $750,000

     $13,125

     Save Mart

     4/3/2013

     $2.55 million

     $33,000

    Walgreens

    12/3/2012

     $16.57 million

     $991,626

    Costco

    6/1/2012

     $3.5 million

     $49,250

    CVS

     4/12/2012

     $13.57 million

     $249,625

    Target

    3/2/2011

     $22.5 million

     $578,125