The United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California (“U.S.”) issued an August 5th news release stating that C.G. Roxane LLC (“Roxane”) was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay criminal penalties of $5 million for allegedly illegally storing and transporting hazardous waste.
The company is stated to produce Crystal Geyser Natural Alpine Spring Water.
Roxane is stated to operate a spring water production facility (“Facility”) in Olancha, California.
The news release states that the company obtained water by drawing groundwater from the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Such water is stated to contain naturally occurring arsenic.
The Facility is stated to have used sand filters to reduce the concentration of arsenic so the water would meet federal drinking water standards. In order to maintain the effectiveness of the sand filters the company is stated to have back-flushed the filters with a sodium hydroxide solution. This is stated to have generated arsenic-contaminated wastewater.
Roxane is stated to have discharged the arsenic-contaminated wastewater into a manmade pond. A California Regional Water Quality Control Board is stated to have informed the company after sampling the pond that arsenic concentrations were more than eight times the hazardous waste limit.
The U.S. alleges that Roxane used contractors to remove the hazardous waste and transport it without the proper manifest and without identifying the wastewater as a hazardous material. The contaminated wastewater is stated to have been transported to a facility not authorized to receive or transport hazardous waste.
Besides criminal penalties and probation, United States District Judge Dolly M. Gee requires the company to implement a compliance program to ensure it complies with federal and state environmental laws.
A copy of the news release can be downloaded here.