After finding evidence that toxic material traveled off-site, the state Department of Toxic Substances Control ordered a metal shredding facility on Terminal Island at the Port of Los Angeles to stop polluting, determine the extent of contamination and clean it up, it was announced Wednesday.
DTSC, the state department responsible for protecting residents and the environment from hazardous chemicals, is requiring SA Recycling LLC to investigate the extent of soil, groundwater and ocean sediment contamination. The order also names the prior operator, Simsmetal West LLC, according to DTSC.
The facility shreds used vehicles, appliances and other scrap to recycle the metal and has been operating since 1962. Most recently, DTSC issued a summary of violations against the facility in September after its scientists found metal shredder residue called light fibrous material on the pavement, in pavement cracks, on equipment and inside and over storm drains at a neighboring facility, Pasha Stevedoring & Terminals, L.P.
Samples of the material exceeded hazardous waste levels for lead, cadmium, and zinc, according to DTSC. The agency ordered the company to curtail those releases and to develop a plan to clean up the contamination at the nearby facility.
DTSC said it was taking the action to protect the nearby harbor and people who live in the area. It is the latest in a string of enforcement actions DTSC has taken against metal recyclers and shredders in California, many of them in areas that suffer from inordinate amounts of pollution, the agency said.
“We have a responsibility to protect people, their communities and the environment from companies and industries that pollute,” said DTSC Director Meredith Williams.
“DTSC is continuing to take actions such as this one to protect all Californians from potential exposure to harmful materials stemming from the operation of metal recycling activities — especially in neighborhoods already suffering from multiple sources of pollution.”