Richmond metal plating company forced to shut down due to hazardous waste violations

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Richmond metal plating company forced to shut down due to hazardous waste violations
This building at 130 Nevin Ave. was the site of a state investigation into the illegal storage of hazardous chemicals.

A court order has forced a Richmond metal plating company to shut down following continued violations of hazardous waste laws, the state Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) announced Monday.

On Wednesday, a Contra Costa County Superior Court judge granted DTSC’s request to halt operations of Electro-Forming, Co., located near homes at 130 Nevin Ave.

In March, we reported how the company and its owner Marion Patigler were charged with 11 felonies and 12 misdemeanors alleging the illegal disposal, storage, treatment and transportation of hazardous waste over a two-year period beginning March 2011.

On a tip, state investigators searched the site last year and found, among other violations, cyanide near acid, which could combine to form a deadly gas. The company was also accused of illegally disposing of hazardous waste in the streets and on adjacent property.

Location of the metal plating company.
Location of the metal plating company.

The findings led to a preliminary injunction, but in August of this year a follow-up investigation revealed the company and its owners were not complying with the injunction, DTSC said. The company increasingly threatened to contaminate neighboring properties and the environment, the agency added.

Hazardous waste violations from the latest inspection included:

  • The storage in open containers of fine particulate metal dust which was generated by buffing plated parts.
  • The fine particulate metal dust also covered much of the facility and contaminated neighboring properties.
  • A 275-gallon drum of acid waste was unaccounted for.

Last week’s court order prevents Electro-Forming, Co. from generating hazardous waste until it removes all hazardous waste from its operations. That effectively shuts down the company’s operations, since activities that create the waste are essential to its operations.

“Over the past year this company has failed multiple times to comply with the rules that protect the neighborhood surrounding the facility,” Reed Sato, DTSC chief counsel, said in a statement. “This injunction demonstrates DTSC’s commitment to protect vulnerable communities from illegal hazardous waste management activities which materially threaten public health and safety.”

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