On September 21, 2017, Kenneth Douglas Griffin, Jr., shift supervisor at Santa Clara Waste Water Company (SCWWC), was sentenced in the Superior Court of California, Ventura, to 7 months in custody and 36 months of formal probation for his role in a November 18, 2014, explosion at the SCWWC facility in Santa Paula, California. Griffin was also ordered to pay victim restitution in an amount to be determined by the court. Under the terms and conditions of his probation, he is prohibited from supervising employees who handle hazardous materials for a period of 3 years.
Griffin was the onsite supervisor at SCWWC at the time of the explosion. To impede enforcement efforts, he helped transfer hazardous materials to an offsite storage yard just prior to scheduled inspections. He failed to warn employees of a serious concealed danger at the plant, specifically, the presence of a hazardous material known as sodium chlorite. He also failed to provide sufficient warning regarding chemicals that were mislabeled or entirely unlabeled at the SCWWC site.
DOT-OIG conducted this investigation jointly with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigation Division and the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office. This case was prosecuted by the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office and the California Attorney General’s Office.