Three Companies Indicted for Illegally Transporting Hazardous Material
On July 18, 2018, CG Roxane, LLC, dba Crystal Geyser (Crystal Geyser), Olancha, California, and United Pumping Service, Inc. (United Pumping) and United Storm Water, Inc. (United Storm Water), both of City of Industry, California, were indicted in U.S. District Court, Los Angeles. They were charged with unlawful transportation of hazardous waste, transporting hazardous waste to an unpermitted facility, and omitting information and making false statements on manifests used to transport and dispose of hazardous waste on multiple dates between March 2015 and May 2015.
According to the indictment, to produce drinking-water products, Crystal Geyser drew water from underground wells that contained naturally occurring arsenic and used sand filters to reduce the concentration of arsenic. To ensure the efficiency of the sand filters, Crystal Geyser regenerated them by back-flushing a hydroxide-and-water solution through them. The regeneration process caused the sand filters to release arsenic into the hydroxide-and-water solution, which generated thousands of gallons of arsenic-contaminated wastewater. Crystal Geyser then discharged that wastewater into a nearby manmade pond that its staff called Arsenic Pond. In September 2014, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) determined that the wastewater stored in Arsenic Pond was a hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). In October 2014, DTSC determined the regenerated arsenic-contaminated wastewater was also RCRA hazardous waste.
On March 20, 2015, the three companies allegedly illegally transported several thousand gallons of the regenerated arsenic-contaminated wastewater to a hazardous waste facility within the County of Los Angeles, but failed to disclose the arsenic content on the manifest. On April 13, 2015, DTSC instructed Crystal Geyser to remove the wastewater from Arsenic Pond and transport it, using a hazardous manifest, to a facility authorized and permitted to accept hazardous waste. The indictment alleges that between May 11 and May 14, 2015, Crystal Geyser, United Pumping, and United Storm Water knowingly transported the liquid contents of Arsenic Pond to a facility in Fontana, California, that lacked a proper permit.
DOT-OIG is working on this case with the Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigation Division (EPA-CID).
Note: Indictments, informations and criminal complaints are only accusations by the Government. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.