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WESTLAKE : City Out to Catch Engine Oil Dumpers

July 04, 1993|JAKE DOHERTY

A new campaign against storm-drain pollution led to the June 21 conviction of a man who drained used motor oil into a city street, said a deputy city attorney.

Los Angeles Municipal Commissioner Barry Kohn fined Jesus Silva $405 and stayed a five-day jail sentence after the 53-year-old Westlake resident pleaded no contest to illegally dumping used oil, a violation of municipal health and safety codes. Kohn stayed the jail term on the condition that Silva obey all laws during a two-year summary probation period, said Deputy City Atty. Vincent Sato.

Silva had faced a maximum sentence of six months in jail and/or a $2,000 fine.

On Dec. 14, Silva changed his 1974 Ford Thunderbird's engine oil as it was parked at 2nd and Emerald streets, allowing the used oil to run into a storm drain, Sato said.

Although illegal motor-oil dumping is a problem in all areas, it is especially common in low-income neighborhoods where residents cannot afford to go to a garage for car repairs or oil changes, Sato said. Some gas stations and private companies will accept motor oil for recycling, he said.

The case was the first filed by the city attorney's environmental protection unit under a new enforcement program that includes the Police Department's hazardous materials unit and the storm water management division of the Bureau of Engineering.

To report illegal dumping: (213) 485-4011.

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