News Release

T – 12 – 14
Miriam Barcellona Ingenito, Acting Director

February 15, 2019

Contact: Jorge Moreno
(916) 869-5422

San Diego County companies to pay $70,000 for improper handling
of hazardous waste

SACRAMENTO – Two San Diego area sister companies will pay $70,000 for illegally storing and treating hazardous materials, the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) announced today.

Emulsions Control, Inc. (ECI) of Chula Vista, formulates and sells demulsifiers, a class of specialty chemicals that can separate emulsions – mixtures of oil and water. Oil companies use demulsifiers in the processing of crude oil to remove water and salt from the oils. Pepper Oil Company (POCO) manufactures demulsifiers at its National City location. POCO’s sells diesel fuel and oil and operates a truck stop and gas station that services commercial truckers.

ECI bought used corrosive and toxic materials that DTSC regulates as hazardous waste. The hazardous waste was received, stored and treated at POCO prior to being used as ingredients to make demulsifiers. The corrosive and toxic waste materials were primarily spent acids, including sulfonic acids which are organic waste generated from sulfur burning.

In 2012, the San Diego County Certified Unified Program Agency, which routinely inspects the businesses, alerted DTSC that POCO was storing and treating hazardous waste without a permit from DTSC. Upon inspection, DTSC found that both ECI and POCO stored and treated hazardous waste without proper authorization or permit from DTSC.

Since the inspections, both ECI and POCO have worked closely with DTSC to resolve the violations. They have changed their production process and are now in compliance with the hazardous laws and regulations.

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FOR GENERAL INQUIRIES: Contact the Department of Toxic Substances Control by phone at (800) 728-6942 or visit 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.