Last month, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) reached a settlement with a property management company and its auto body and repair tenants for allegedly mishandling hazardous waste at over a dozen properties in the greater Sacramento area.
DTSC’s Office of Criminal Investigations discovered that Meinco Properties’ tenants allegedly stored, transported, and disposed of over 30,000 lbs. of hazardous waste
illegally as part of their auto repair and auto painting operations.
The waste generated by the tenants was a mix of regulated hazardous and universal wastes, including hybrid battery cells, non-empty aerosol cans, solvents, paint waste, used oil, e-waste, and automotive fluids.
On one occasion, State officials intercepted over 5,200 lbs. of waste that was picked up from one of the properties by a contracted disposal company not authorized to handle or transport hazardous waste. DTSC determined the load contained hazardous waste and was illegally disposed.
As part of the settlement, Meinco Properties agreed to pay $30,000 in civil penalties plus $94,100 to offset State and local investigation costs.
The property management company was also ordered to consult with an environmental compliance specialist to verify that its tenants are compliant with hazardous waste laws and the applicable County of Sacramento ordinances.
The courts also ordered the tenants to maintain secure waste receptacles and agree to future hazardous waste inspections by any governing body, including DTSC and any California Unified Program Agency (CUPA).
Although the property management company is responsible for all penalties, Meinco Properties may require its tenants to pay the penalties, legal fees, and/or any other monetary costs incurred due to the tenants’ missteps.
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