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Meredith Williams, Acting Director
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 16, 2019
DTSC Targets Commercial Landlord, Tenants for Illegal Hazardous Waste Disposal
Meinco Properties Agrees to $124,100 Settlement
SACRAMENTO – The Department of Toxic Substances Control today announced a $124,100 settlement with a property management company and its auto body and repair tenants for the mishandling of hazardous waste materials at more than a dozen properties in Sacramento County.
“Our enforcement team is determined to identify and prosecute any and all businesses that improperly handle hazardous waste, blatantly ignore hazardous waste laws, and put vulnerable communities at risk,” said DTSC Acting Director Meredith Williams.
DTSC’s Office of Criminal Investigations discovered that the tenants, who conducted auto repair and auto painting operations on at least 13 properties, had illegally stored, transported, and disposed of approximately 30,500 pounds of hazardous waste. The waste required special handling in accordance with California’s Hazardous Waste Control Law.
DTSC discovered that Meinco Properties’ tenants sidestepped lawful disposal practices, potentially endangering the surrounding communities identified by CalEnviroScreen as disproportionately burdened by multiple sources of pollution.
In one instance, DTSC intercepted more than 5,200 pounds of waste that was picked up from one of the properties by a contracted disposal company not authorized to handle or transport hazardous waste. DTSC determined the load contained hazardous waste and was illegally disposed.
Waste produced by Meinco Properties’ tenants included hazardous and universal waste in the form of hybrid battery cells, non-empty aerosol cans, solvents, paint waste, used oil, electronic waste, and automotive fluids.
As part of the settlement, tenants must maintain secured waste receptacles, and Meinco Properties must provide educational material on proper hazardous waste generation management, drop-off locations, and business plan FAQs to its tenants. The tenants also agreed to future hazardous waste inspections by any government agency with jurisdiction, including DTSC or any California Unified Program Agency (CUPA).
Meinco Properties is also ordered to consult with an environmental compliance specialist to verify that its tenants are compliant with hazardous waste laws and the applicable County of Sacramento ordinances.
The District Attorney’s Office filed the settlement in Sacramento County Superior Court Aug. 12. The settlement included $15,000 in Health and Safety Code civil penalties, $15,000 in Business and Professions Code civil penalties, and $90,100 toward partial recovery of the cost of DTSC’s investigation, which led to full cooperation and swift prosecution of Meinco Properties.
About the Office of Criminal Investigations
The Office of Criminal Investigations is a special investigation unit within DTSC consisting of peace officers, scientists, and a computer forensics specialist who investigate criminal misconduct involving hazardous waste in California. OCI is the only criminal investigations unit within the California Environmental Protection Agency.
CalEnviroScreen maps the state’s most pollution-burdened and most vulnerable communities by evaluating pollution sources, stressors, including socioeconomic factors. Developed by CalEPA’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, CalEnviroScreen ranks census tracts in California based on potential exposures to pollutants, adverse environmental conditions, socioeconomic factors, and prevalence of certain health conditions.
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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.