A judge Thursday declined to issue a temporary restraining order against a Paramount metal-processing plant over alleged excessive emissions of a toxic metal air pollutant identified by state and federal authorities as a human carcinogen.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Joanne O’Donnell said lawyers for Los Angeles County and the South Coast Air Quality Management District had not shown there would be “irreparable harm” by allowing the process to continue until Jan. 5, when the AQMD’s Hearing Board will take up the matter.
The judge also noted that Anaplex Corp., which was sued by the county and the AQMD on Wednesday, had provided evidence that it was actively taking steps to reduce emissions.
The company released a statement saying the judge’s “ruling provides much needed clarity to the process toward a goal we all agree about in protecting public health, including that of Anaplex’s employees who own the company.”
Another statement released by the company earlier in the day said Anaplex is “an employee-owned corporation of 70 people who live in and around Paramount. Our health and the health and safety of our neighbors is of utmost importance in our roles as employees and owners of Anaplex, and as residents.”
The lawsuit asks for civil penalties against Anaplex and an injunction directing that emissions not be allowed to exceed unacceptable levels of hexavalent chromium, also known as Chromium 6.
“This case involves Anaplex’s repeated and ongoing emissions of hexavalent chromium,” according to the complaint, which says the company’s operations involve the use of chromic acid anodizing and surface metal processing tanks.
The AQMD began monitoring air in Paramount in late 2013 after complaints from residents about metallic odors. In the first half of this year, the district detected elevated levels of hexavalent chromium that were “significantly higher that typical background levels in Southern California,” the suit says.
The district expanded its monitoring in October with new samples taken every few days, according to the complaint. The findings showed significantly higher levels of hexavalent chromium near the intersection of Garfield Avenue and Madison Street, close to where the Anaplex plant is located, the suit states.
An interior inspection of the plant by the district showed Anaplex has altered equipment that can cause the emission of air contaminants without getting permission from the district’s executive officer, the suit alleges.
The AQMD even found that excessive emissions occurred on Thanksgiving Day when the plant was closed, according to the plaintiffs.
Although the district has made several demands to Anaplex regarding the elevated emission levels, the AQMD “is informed and believes that Anaplex has continued to operate its business in the same manner that has produced the elevated and harmful levels of Chromium 6,” the suit alleges.
—City News Service
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