News Release

T – 03 – 14
Deborah O. Raphael, Director


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 4, 2014

Contact: Tim Reese
(916) 323-3396
Timothy.Reese@dtsc.ca.gov

Criminal Complaints Filed Against Metal Recycling Facilities’
Owner for Alleged Hazardous Waste Violations

SACRAMENTO – The district attorneys in Kings and Tulare counties have filed criminal complaints against Jeffrey A. Prins, the owner of The Recycle Depot, Inc., a metal recycler that violated hazardous waste laws at its facilities in both counties.

The criminal enforcement actions resulted from the Department of Toxic Substances Control’s (DTSC) Metal Recycling Enforcement Initiative that began in the fall of 2012. The initiative focuses inspection and enforcement activities on metal recycling facilities and the threats they pose to surrounding communities. DTSC’s Office of Criminal Investigations (OCI) and Enforcement and Emergency Response Division have jointly conducted more than 14 investigations since the start of the initiative.

“Since implementing the Metal Recycling Enforcement Initiative, OCI has found widespread noncompliance with the Hazardous Waste Control Laws,” said Reed Sato, Chief Counsel for DTSC. “These enforcement cases are a signal to this industry that mismanagement of hazardous waste will result in prosecutions. We expect that these enforcement actions are the first of many more to follow.”

Prins, owner of The Recycle Depot, Inc., operates one recycling facility in Visalia (Tulare County) and two facilities in Hanford (Kings County). The Visalia facility is located at 8461 Goshen Avenue, and the two Hanford facilities are located at 866 East Fifth Street and 10716 Eighth Avenue.

Both District Attorneys allege that Prins failed to remove designated Materials that Require Special Handling (MRSH) from major appliances before they were crushed, baled, shredded, sawed or sheared apart, disposed of, or otherwise processed in a manner that could result in a release or could prevent the removal of MRSH at both the Visalia facility and at the 866 East Fifth Street facility in Hanford.

The Kings County District Attorney also alleged that Prins violated the California Hazardous Waste Control Law relating to the handling, disposal, and storage of hazardous and universal wastes at both Hanford facilities.

MRSH includes substances such as mercury found in switches or refrigerants or used oil contained in large appliances. MRSH also includes encapsulated polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs); di (2-ethylhexyl phthalate) (DEHP) and metal-encased capacitors; chlorofluorocarbons  (CFCs), hydro-chlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) and other non-CFC replacement refrigerants. Metal Recycling Facilities are required to remove MRSH from major appliances before processing for scrap metal. MRSH is then regulated as hazardous waste.

View more information about the Tulare County and Kings County criminal complaints filed against Jeffrey A. Prins.

View more information about the Metal Shredder Residuals.

OCI is a special investigation unit within DTSC consisting of peace officers, scientists, and a computer forensic specialist who investigate criminal misconduct involving hazardous waste management in California. They are the only criminal investigation unit within the California Environmental Protection Agency.

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FOR GENERAL INQUIRIES: Contact the Department of Toxic Substances Control by phone at (800) 728-6942 or visit www.dtsc.ca.gov. To report illegal handling, discharge, or disposal of hazardous waste, call the Waste Alert Hotline at (800) 698-6942.

The mission of DTSC is to protect California’s people and environment from harmful effects of toxic substances by restoring contaminated properties, enforcing hazardous waste law, reducing hazardous waste generation, and encouraging the manufacture of chemically safer products.