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SIGNAL HILL : 3 Charged in Dumping of Toxic Rainwater

January 20, 1994

Three officers of a crude-oil cleaning and storage facility here have been charged with dumping toxic rainwater onto city streets.

The district attorney's office filed a 38-count felony and misdemeanor complaint against Petroleum Recycling Corp., President Richard Davis McAuley, compliance officer Ronald R. Daerr and plant manager Mark James Vigeant.

According to police investigator Jim Peterson, the three men were responsible for dumping about 200,000 gallons of tainted rainwater last January into a drain on property adjacent to the company's East 29th Street facility. The water flowed onto a city street, into a storm drain and ultimately into Marine Stadium and Alamitos Bay, Peterson said. The water contained benzene and dichloromethane, which have been identified as carcinogens.

"We're baffled by all of this," said McAuley. "We had received a storm-water discharge permit. We tested the water and it was clean." The officials each posted $25,000 bail after they were arrested Friday. They are scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 28 in Long Beach Municipal Court. The allegations involve violations of the California Water Code, Health and Safety Code, Fish and Game Code, and municipal codes.

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