A San Diego company that admitted environmental crimes stemming from an acid spill at its facility nearly three years ago was sentenced Tuesday to probation and ordered to pay a $50,000 fine and more than $11,000 to county’s Department of Environmental Health Services.
Pacific Tank Cleaning Inc. admitted Feb. 20 that a valve on a 275-gallon container of acidic tank cleaning solution failed on March 28, 2011, causing the contents of the tank to leak onto the ground and down a nearby alley and street.
The company admitted that although an employee advised management of the spill, the employee in charge of the facility failed to notify the National Response Center.
A Pacific Tank Cleaning production manager, Jorge Luquin, also pleaded guilty to the unlawful discharge of pollutants. In his plea agreement, he admitted that although he was aware that the tank had leaked, he made no effort to contain the spill outside the facility, which allowed the acid to enter the storm drain system and ultimately local tributaries.
“America’s communities and waterways must be protected from the illegal discharge of industrial materials,” said Jay M. Green, Special Agent in Charge for the EPA’s criminal enforcement program in California. “The defendants released acid which puddled next to an elementary school, placing children and residents at serious risk.”
Luquin’s sentencing is set for June 26.
– City News Service
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