January 9, 2020
Spring Water Company Pleads Guilty To Unlawfully Storing and Transporting Hazardous Waste
On January 9, 2020, CG Roxane, LLC, the company that produces Crystal Geyser Natural Alpine Spring Water, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court, Los Angeles, California, to one count of unlawful storage of hazardous waste and one count of unlawful transportation of hazardous material. The company illegally stored and transported hazardous waste that was created when it filtered arsenic from spring water at its facility in Olancha, California.
According to the July 18, 2018, indictment, to produce drinking-water products, the company 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, CG Roxane regenerated them by back-flushing them with a hydroxide-and-water solution. During the regeneration process, the sand filters released arsenic into the hydroxide-and-water solution, which generated thousands of gallons of arsenic-contaminated wastewater. The company 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.
DOT-OIG is working on this case with the Environmental Protection Agency–Criminal Investigation Division.