Government officials used appeals to altruism and implied threats to urge San Fernando Valley businesses Wednesday to avoid further pollution of the Valley ground-water basin, a key source of drinking water for the cities of Los Angeles, Burbank, Glendale and San Fernando.
Addressing a seminar in Van Nuys on proper disposal of hazardous waste, Los Angeles City Councilwoman Joy Picus asked 175 small-business operators to help protect "a very precious and a very vital resource" and told them: "You've already taken the first step just by being here."
A prosecutor later sought to appeal to a different set of instincts. Jan Chatten-Brown, the Los Angeles County district attorney's special assistant for occupational safety and environmental protection, urged businessmen to cooperate with environmental inspectors "when they appear at your door because I can assure you, you would much rather be dealing with them than with us."
The free seminar, organized by the nonprofit California Safety Council, attracted operators of machine shops, metal finishing companies, auto repair shops and other small generators of hazardous waste. Council officials said there was not enough room for all the businesses that had asked to participate and that the program probably would be repeated.