LOS ANGELES – An Alabama-based trucking company will pay Los Angeles County $1.82 million to resolve allegations it illegally trucked more than 128,000 pounds of lead-contaminated material from a former battery- recycling plant in Vernon to Kern County, county officials said.
County officials contend in a lawsuit that Wiley Sanders Truck Lines violated state hazardous-waste-handling regulations for years by hauling the contaminated plastic battery chips from the former Exide recycling plant to a facility in Bakersfield. The lawsuit contends the company failed to handle the material as hazardous waste.
Officials with Wiley Sanders could not be reached for immediate comment.
According to the county, the company will pay $1.82 million to the county Department of Public health’s Environmental Response and Assessment Fund, which provides public-health outreach and programs in areas affected by contamination from the former Exide plant. The company will also pay $565,000 in civil penalties, according to the county.
“For decades, hard-working families were unaware that trucks leaving Exide’s facility illegally carried and leaked hazardous wastes into the community and endangered the health and safety of children and others,” County Supervisor Hilda Solis said. “It is unacceptable and a human rights violation that unsuspecting children and families at nearby schoolyards and parks were potentially exposed to these hazardous materials.”
The Exide battery recycling plant was operated for decades without a valid state permit and permanently shut down in 2015 after continuing to fail to meet environmental standards for emissions of lead and arsenic.