LOS ANGELES – City Attorney Mike Feuer today announced that his office has successfully secured a conviction against the owners of a now-shuttered Sun Valley scrap metal recycler for repeatedly failing to properly store and dispose of hazardous waste, such as diesel fuel, heavy metals, refrigerant gases and asbestos. As a result of the prosecution, the company’s lease was cancelled by the property owner and the business closed in August 2017. "Our hazardous waste laws are designed to safeguard public health and safety, and protect our environment," said Feuer. "Businesses that violate those laws endanger our communities. We'll continue to hold them accountable."
"These businesses must get the point, Sun Valley will no longer be a dumping ground," said Councilwoman Nury Martinez. "Business owners will not flaunt the laws, destroy our neighborhoods and get away with it. The residents of Sun Valley deserve more. They deserve to live in a safe and clean community."
"The charges that led to this conviction are the first to stem from a statewide initiative that calls for the inspection of metal-recycling facilities in vulnerable communities," said Hansen Pang, chief investigator with the Department of Toxic Substances Control. "We are creating strategies to ensure these companies meet regulations, and that residents in these areas are protected."
Brian Kassoff, 52, Carlos Almazan, 43, and their business, ANK Metal Recycling, L.P., each entered a plea of no contest to four counts of violating the California Health and Safety Code. The individuals were each ordered to pay $1,000.00 in court fines, plus penalty assessments court and investigative costs. Additionally they were ordered to pay investigative costs to Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) in the amount of $16,894.75.
Should the business try to re-open, either in the same location or in a new one, its owners will be required to comply with a series of environmental and safety conditions including having all relevant hazardous waste permits and plans as well as attending state run seminars for hazardous waste generators.
ANK Metal Recycling was a scrap metal facility located at 8832 Bradley Avenue in Sun Valley that recycled scrap metals, e-waste, universal waste and appliances. The City Attorney’s complaint filed in May 2017 alleged that Kassoff and Almazan, through ANK Metal Recycling, illegally disposed or improperly stored multiple toxic and hazardous substances at the facility in May 2016. The alleged violations included:
Failure to properly dispose of floor sweeping containing cadmium, copper, lead and zinc.
Failure to contain metal dust shavings that had accumulated on the asphalt surface of the yard.
Failure to properly maintain and operate the facility so as to prevent the release of waste oil into the environment.
Failure to properly process appliances which resulted in the accumulation of hazardous metals and the release of Freon and other refrigerant gases.
Failure to properly contain electronic devices
Failure to retain receipts or invoices for the disposal of materials that require special handling.
Improperly disposing asbestos hazardous waste from air conditioning inside a facility dumpster.
Improperly storing diesel fuel in a 1,000 gallon tank on the property.
Failure to properly label hazardous waste containers.
The prosecutions come as a result of three separate inspections conducted by the DTSC and referred to the City Attorney’s Office.
Deputy City Attorney Ella Fernandez of Feuer’s Environmental Justice Unit successfully prosecuted the case.