May 23, 2018

EPA Requires Plastic Manufacturers to Protect Waterways

Two Los Angeles plastic manufacturers will pay a fine and clean up storm water management practices to limit plastic discharges

EPA fines plastic manufacturers to clean up storm water discharges
EPA fines plastic manufacturers to clean up storm water discharges

The U.S. EPA reached settlements with two Southern California plastics manufacturers over federal Clean Water Act violations. Under the terms of the settlements, both companies will take steps to prevent plastic materials they manage from washing into local waterways. Combined, the companies will pay more than $35,000 in penalties.

Modern Concepts Inc., located in Compton, Calif., and Double R. Trading Inc., located in the city of Industry, failed to install required controls that prevent plastic and other materials from washing into storm drains and discharging into the Los Angeles River and Port of Los Angeles, respectively. Both companies have corrected the violations and returned to compliance.

Modern Concepts stores pre-production nurdles, plastic pellets, at its facility as part of its plastic products manufacturing process. EPA’s inspectors observed spilled plastic pellets on paved surfaces throughout the facility, which is located near Compton Creek, a tributary of the Los Angeles River. EPA also found the facility lacked pollution prevention equipment and used inadequate cardboard storage boxes, which exposed the pellets to rain and wind.

Double R Trading Inc. operates a recycling plant that grinds plastic material into flakes that are ultimately exported to China. EPA inspectors discovered that the facility, when it was operating in Compton before moving to the city of Industry, was discharging industrial storm water into Dominguez Channel without a required permit. EPA inspectors observed large amounts of exposed plastic materials and fragments spilled on paved surfaces throughout the facility.

Under the Clean Water Act, plastic manufacturers must obtain a storm water permit from the state to discharge industrial storm water to surface waters. The permit requires the installation of controls and use of best management practices to prevent or minimize the discharges of pollutants in runoff from their operations. Such discharges may contain pollutants such as plastic resin pellets, flakes or powders.