Company removing hazardous waste at state’s insistence

A metal plating company in Richmond said they have begun removing large quantities of hazardous wastes at its facility after the Contra Costa County Superior Court issued a restraining order.

“We are working on it right now,” said Marion Patigler, an administrator with the Electro-Forming located on Nevin Avenue, adding that they have one consultant and three environment inspection agents working together on the task.

The company has two weeks to clean up the waste and if they fail to do so by the deadline, the Department of Toxic Substances Control — part of California’s Environmental Protection Agency — will complete the removal and recover the cost from the company.

An inspection found that Electro-Forming, which operates in a neighborhood with residential buildings, was illegally storing, treating and disposing of hazardous waste. The inspectors also found that the company was storing incompatible hazardous wastes next to each other.

The department then asked the Contra Costa County Superior Court for a restraining order to remove the waste. The Court granted the order on Friday and will hear the agency’s request for a preliminary injunction on January 15, 2014.

The consequences of the infractions alleged in this case could be severe: “Richmond is likely to have cyanide running on the streets if there is a rain storm,” said Tamma Adamek, a spokeswoman for the department.

According to Adamek, the inspection found a 6,900-gallon tank containing cyanide, which was full and not covered on company property. That could easily overflow if it rains, she said.

Adamek also pointed out that the company is not equipped with secondary containers to catch the waste if it overflows.

Patigler denied this allegation.

“Everything is contained properly,” Patigler said.

In August the California Attorney General’s Office sued Electro-Forming for numerous alleged violations of California hazardous waste laws. The complaint alleged that the company was unlawfully boiling off liquid plating waste and combining different types of hazardous waste in a tank.

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