Department of Health & Human Services

Posted on: February 16, 2017

Hazardous waste fines levied on four Humboldt County businesses

The Humboldt County Department of Health & Human Services, Division of Environmental Health (DEH) recently issued hazardous waste violation fines to four businesses that operate in Humboldt County. 

The penalties and agency costs totaling $29,599.72 over the last six months were levied after investigations found the facilities out of compliance with hazardous material storage and hazardous waste disposal requirements, and failing to prevent hazardous wastes from reaching the environment.

The following businesses received penalties:

Antich Automotive, Eureka

A complaint inspection of Antich Automotive in 2012 revealed a substantial waste oil spill from an indoor tank extending outside the business’ building. Antich failed to follow its own established spill-response plan and spill-reporting requirements. The case was settled in 2016 with Antich Automotive paying $6,080 in fines and agency costs.

Figas Construction, Arcata

In 2012, DEH staff was denied consent to inspect a Figas Construction property that was later found to be mishandling hazardous substances, failing to comply with hazardous materials business plan submittal requirements, and illegally transporting hazardous waste. Through an administrative enforcement order, the owner of Figas Construction paid penalties of $14,000 for the violations issued.

Hoopa Valley Ready-Mix, Willow Creek

A 2015 spill report from the California Office of Emergency Services was investigated at Hoopa Valley Ready Mix. During the investigation, cement wastewater was found to be discharging off-site. The business had failed to comply with hazardous materials business plan submittal requirements. Through an administrative enforcement order in 2016, the owner of Hoopa Valley Ready-Mix paid $7,835 in penalties and agency costs for failing to comply with hazardous materials business plan submittal requirements, and failure to report a release of a hazardous substance.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), Loleta

A 2016 spill report of a potential release from a transformer located on a dairy ranch in Loleta revealed PG&E’s failure to maintain its equipment. On Jan. 4, 2017, PG&E paid $1,684.72 in penalties and agency costs.

Administrative penalties are issued under authority granted by the California Health and Safety Code. Incidents can carry a fine of $5,000 to $25,000 per day, per violation. DEH appreciates the cooperation shown by the businesses investigated.

When violations and contamination are encountered, the businesses are required to provide DEH with a plan of correction to clean up the contamination and/or be in compliance with program requirements. This process is done hand-in-hand with the representatives of the business and Division of Environmental Health to ensure no further contamination occurs.

All businesses in California that use and store hazardous materials or generate hazardous waste are required to be in compliance with applicable state and federal laws and regulations governing pollution prevention and safe work environments.

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