The family-owned business that bottles Crystal Geyser Alpine Spring Water was sentenced Wednesday in Los Angeles to three years of probation and ordered to pay a $5 million criminal fine for storing and transporting hazardous waste containing arsenic.
Officials, however, said the case didn’t involve any drinking water supplied to the public, and the product remains safe.
U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee also ordered CG Roxane LLC to implement a compliance program that involves the retention of an environmental auditor to conduct annual audits of the company’s Olancha facility.
The company pleaded guilty in January to one count each of unlawful storage of hazardous waste and unlawful transportation of hazardous material.
CG Roxane created an “arsenic pond” in a remote part of eastern California between Death Valley and the Sequoia National Forest and didn’t disclose that water pumped out of the pond and delivered to water treatment plants contained the poisonous heavy metal.
Two hazardous wastewater and stormwater transportation companies were each ordered last month to pay a $375,000 fine after they pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Water Act by trucking wastewater produced by CG Roxane without disclosing information about arsenic in the waste transported from the bottling plant in Olancha.
The case focused on the bottling plant’s wastewater, not the safety or quality of Crystal Geyser’s water, prosecutors said.
CG Roxane has been bottling natural spring water in California since 1990. The public was not harmed through the long-discontinued conduct, and the bottler said it is committed to ensuring that its business practices do not create any harm, according to court papers.
Olancha is in Inyo County, about 200 miles north of Los Angeles.
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