An Anaheim steel salvage firm must rid its property of 44,000 tons of residue containing toxic PCBs, the City Council voted Tuesday.
In a double-dose of bad news for Orange County Steel Salvage Inc., the council also decided to hold a public hearing Aug. 19 to determine whether to shut down the company's operation altogether.
Calling both decisions some of the "most drastic actions against private enterprise" by the city in recent years, Mayor Donald R. Roth said he hopes the company will correct its numerous zoning violations before the public hearing.
Owner George Adams declined to comment.
The council's decision upholds a Planning Commission refusal in January to extend Adams' one-year permit to store a pile of hazardous waste at 3200 E. Frontera Road. Adams said he has stockpiled the material because no nearby dump is licensed to received the waste. Hauling it to a more expensive hazardous waste dump would bankrupt him, he said.
The issue had been before the council on three previous occasions. Each time, council members postponed their decision at Adams' request to await new studies or reviews by other agencies. Roth said Tuesday that the council's "patience is wearing thin."
At a council meeting May 20, as at previous meetings, officials said they were confused because of conflicting information and asked agencies to clear up the confusion.
The council received several responses. Among them was a letter from Angelo Bellomo of the state Department of Health Services Toxic Substances Control Division, who wrote to Roth: "You state that confusion among agencies as to whether the waste is hazardous and where it can be disposed of has contributed to the problem. . . . Mr. Adams is aware of the law and his responsibilities. He has refused to comply with the law because he does not wish to spend the money necessary for compliance."
The Health Department notified Adams in February that he was storing hazardous waste in violation of state laws. Adams has submitted independent test results showing levels of PCBs well below the state maximum of 50 parts per million for solid waste.
PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, are known to cause cancer in rats and mice, and liver damage in humans. Their manufacture was discontinued in the United States in 1976.
Much of the "fluff," or remains of shredded cars and appliances, is stored in an area on Adams' property that the council decided Tuesday may not be used as an outdoor storage facility. The rest of the shredded waste is spread in another part of the property that never received city approval for such storage, assistant zoning director Annika Santalahti said.
Orange County Steel also is in violation of various zoning laws by storing material above a fence, not maintaining the landscape, keeping an overhead crane without a permit and charging 75 cents to customers to dig in and find parts they need, according to Code Enforcement Supervisor John Poole.