A Chatsworth manufacturer of computer parts has been caught dumping hazardous wastes into sewers, the Los Angeles city attorney's office said Thursday.
The firm's owner said the materials leaked out of the plant without his knowledge.
In a raid Wednesday morning at Circuit Manufacturing Inc., a maker of computer-circuit boards, authorities "caught workers red-handed," City Atty. James K. Hahn said in a prepared statement.
The raid took place after the city Bureau of Sanitation had discovered acids, caustics, lead and copper in sewers downstream from the Chatsworth plant at 9535 Owensmouth Ave., city attorney's office spokesman Mike Qualls said.
Investigators found a trail of waste that had leaked through two inside walls to form what Hahn called "a hazardous-waste spring."
A co-owner of the company, Greg Moen, said the investigators did not find anyone "blatantly dumping." Malfunctioning waste-monitoring equipment and a leak inside the plant contributed to the seepage of toxics into the sewers, without the knowledge of the company, Moen said.
"Through myself and them working together, we were able to discover where this leak was, and it was in an area that none of us could have been expected to see," Moen said. "They realized that . . . this primarily was unintentional."
The authorities gave Moen a list of "corrections," and the company is making them, he said.
The city attorney's office will analyze waste samples and field reports from investigators before deciding whether to take further action, Qualls said.