Injunction granted in waste case

first_img Neighbors, who complained they were sickened by the waste stored on the Avenue L-9 property of Smith & Thompson Pumping Co. and S&S Environmental and Processing, sought a court order halting operations that they contend have turned the property into an illegal waste-storage site. The neighbors’ attorney, Anthony Patchett, rebutted Moll, saying the business is not operating within legal limits and that the order will bar the company from treating or disposing of any hazardous wastes. “Our argument has been that they have used large plastic portable tanks in the illegal process of treating septic waste on the property,” Patchett said. While Moll said samples taken from the property fell within acceptable state limits, Patchett said that was not true. “It’s like everything else, you can look at statistics and twist them to fit one side,” Patchett said. Patchett said his expert showed that 82.74 milligrams per cubic meter per minute of hydrogen sulfide gas is being released from the tanks, exceeding by eight times the state limit of 10 milligrams per cubic meter. As for neighbors’ contention that they were getting sick, Moll said, “These cases are long cases. The facts will demonstrate that Smith & Thompson has always operated within legal limits and will continue to do so.” S&S co-owner Smith, 41, of Tehachapi and truck driver Marvin Dunbar, 32, of Mojave have pleaded not guilty to criminal charges filed against them by Los Angeles County prosecutors. Smith, who is charged with 36 felony counts of grand theft, illegally storing and disposing of hazardous waste, and forgery, is out on bond. Dunbar, who is charged with one count of grand theft, is free based on a written promise to appear in court. Both men were arrested Sept. 28. State health officials accused the firms of illegally storing toxic industrial waste and of falsifying documents about what they did with it. Neighbors have complained for more than a year of nausea, burning eyes, diarrhea and other illnesses, court papers show. A state investigation showed 331 occasions when the companies picked up waste but did not take it where they were supposed to. On 273 occasions, somebody forged signatures on documents indicating that the waste had been delivered to disposal facilities, state officials said. The forged documents were produced so the defendants would be paid by the companies that hired them, prosecutors said. In court documents, neighboring residents and business people accused Smith & Thompson of also dumping raw, untreated septic waste on the property to avoid paying fees to dispose of it at a sewage treatment plant. The property gives off a smell of rotten eggs – hydrogen sulfide gas from the septic waste, the court papers say. Karen Maeshiro, (661) 267-5744 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! LANCASTER – A judge on Monday granted a preliminary injunction against a waste disposal business that is the target of a criminal prosecution as well as complaints from neighbors. Attorneys for both sides in the civil case will submit the injunction order for the judge to sign, spelling out what disposal practices will be prohibited. “We demonstrated we were operating within the limits of Cal-OSHA and also federal standards,” said Gary Moll, attorney for business co-owner Sherwin Smith. “The judge, wanting to err on the side of caution, asked both sides to put together a restraining order to let the business continue running but assure the other parties in the case that there would be no toxic waste emanating from the property. We have to agree on an order to enable the company to continue its lawful business and try to protect plaintiffs.” last_img read more