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Data on Pollution 3 Months Tardy : City of Industry Fined for Late Report

January 31, 1988|ERIC WILHELMUS | Times Staff Writer

The City of Industry has been fined $5,000 by the county Regional Water Quality Control Board for the late submission of a report on the contamination of ground water from materials dumped in a now-closed landfill.

Because the city's report was submitted in November--more than three months after the July 1 deadline--the board's staff had recommended fining Industry $32,000. The board reduced the penalty to $5,000 because the city had been cooperative, board members said.

The maximum penalty for submitting late reports is $1,000 per day, but the board is allowed to reduce the fine if there are mitigating factors.

The 150-acre site, on which the Industry Hills recreation area and Sheraton Resort are located, was used as a landfill from 1920 to 1970. During that time, more than 3.5 million tons of solid and liquid waste was dumped in the landfill.

"It does appear that there is leakage from the landfill," said Rodney H. Nelson, associate engineering geologist for the water quality board.

More studies will be done to determine whether the contamination poses any health risks, Nelson said. Raymond Delacourt, chief of the water board's landfills section, said Industry has proposed spending $80,000 for ground-water tests.

When asked if the leakage poses any danger to drinking water, Amir K. Matin, a private hydrogeologist who compiled the report for Industry, said: "To be very honest with you, I can't say--that's very confidential." But he said data indicates that residents are in no immediate danger.

Amir said Industry officials could release the information. The city's engineer and water coordinator and the city attorney did not return repeated telephone calls from The Times.

There is no record of the type of refuse accepted at the landfill from 1920 to 1951. And although no records were kept from 1951 to 1955, the report says there is evidence that household waste with small quantities of industrial and liquid sludge was accepted during that period.

The landfill changed ownership several times.

From 1955 to 1957, the report said, "the Puente Waste Disposal Co. . . . received substantial quantities of industrial sludges and oily wastes."

The Monday meeting at which Industry was fined was one of a series conducted by the water quality board concerning compliance with the Calderon Act of 1984, which requires determining whether hazardous waste is polluting the air or ground water around landfills.

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