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Ex-Defense Firm Fined Over Hazardous Wastes

December 16, 1992|MYRON LEVIN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A former Van Nuys defense contractor faces a $129,000 fine for alleged toxic-waste violations, state officials said Tuesday.

A complaint was issued to the Marquardt Co., which formerly produced bomb components and other military hardware at 16555 Saticoy St. The company was accused of 15 hazardous-waste violations after inspections in May and June, officials with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control said.

Marquardt has sold its operation to two other companies. Two counts involved its alleged failure to notify the department of the ownership change.

Other citations involved a hazardous-waste storage area at the Van Nuys site, where officials said Marquardt was storing about 70 containers of waste oils and solvents. Seven of the containers were open, and 24 others were improperly labeled, said Tina Gutierrez, a state hazardous-materials specialist in Burbank.

Jim McCammon, a unit chief with the state agency, said there was some dispute over who was responsible for the stored wastes, but "what we believe is that Marquardt Co. is responsible."

None of the violations posed a direct threat to neighbors of the 56-acre site, McCammon said.

Marquardt officials could not be reached for comment. They have 15 days to appeal or pay the fine, state officials said. Two years ago the company was fined $19,000 for hazardous-waste violations.

Before that, the company's unsuccessful effort to run a pilot hazardous-waste incinerator sparked bitter protests in the neighborhood.

The firm's Van Nuys operations have been split and sold to Kaiser Aerospace & Electronics and Marquardt Manufacturing Inc. Marquardt Manufacturing was described as completely separate from the original firm.

Both successor companies were also cited and fined as a result of the inspections last spring, state officials said. They said Marquardt Manufacturing agreed to pay $25,000 for housekeeping and paperwork violations, while Kaiser Aerospace agreed to pay $35,000 for similar infractions.

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