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Car Salvager Fined for Ignoring Cleanup Order

November 10, 1987|JOHN SPANO | Times Staff Writer

A judge Monday fined an Anaheim automobile salvage firm $2,000 for violating a court order to clean up its shredding yard in Anaheim, which is contaminated in part with toxic PCBs.

Orange County Superior Judge Tully H. Seymour agreed with state health officials, who alleged that Orange County Steel Salvage Inc. had twice ignored court orders to comply with pollution laws.

George Adams Jr. told Seymour that his firm has been in complete compliance with earlier court orders for several weeks. He acknowledged that there had been technical violations in September but said they were unintentional.

But Deputy Atty. Gen. Donald A. Robinson, representing the state, said Seymour's order should "impress upon the defendants that these (orders) do mean something."

Adams' firm shut down operations in March, when the state sought a temporary restraining order over the company's renewed stockpiling of residue from its automobile shredding operations in violation of a previous court order.

The firm had been come to the attention of state health officials more than a year earlier, when dangerous levels of PCBs, lead and other heavy metals were found in 50,000 tons of shredded auto waste stored on its premises.

Polychlorinated biphenyls have been shown to cause cancer in animals. Production of PCBs, which were used widely for insulation in electrical transformers and hydraulic systems, has been barred in the United States since 1976.

Adams had begun stockpiling the residue after municipal landfill operators refused to accept the waste. And Adams had contended that the costs were too high to dispose of the material in hazardous-waste landfills.

Steel Salvage resumed its operations in September, after Adams installed a treatment system that renders the waste acceptable at county-operated dumps. But state health officials said the firm violated new operating rules six days after they agreed to them.

Specifically, Adams had agreed not to stockpile any new shredder waste longer than 10 days before disposing of it. The firm, at 3200 Frontera Road, shreds 300-500 vehicles a day, Adams said Monday.

State health officials alleged--and Adams conceded--that on four occasions, he failed to meet the deadline.

But Adams tried to convince Seymour that he had operated in good faith and that the violations were minor and unavoidable.

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