December 23, 2016
Agency Will Pursue Issue with Independent SCAQMD Hearing Board
Retired Judge Joanne B. O’Donnell today denied an application for a temporary restraining order seeking to reduce high levels of hexavalent chromium emitted from Anaplex Corp. in Paramount.
The application was jointly filed today in Los Angeles Superior Court by the South Coast Air Quality Management District and the County of Los Angeles. Judge O’Donnell denied the application based on her ruling that the independent SCAQMD Hearing Board has primary jurisdiction over the matter, SCAQMD officials said.
“We are disappointed that the court denied our request for a restraining order,” said Wayne Nastri, SCAQMD’s executive officer. “In addition to seeking an administrative order from the independent SCAQMD Hearing Board, we will consider all other enforcement options available to us with our partner agencies.
“We also will remain vigilant as to Anaplex’s actions and its emissions.”
Had it been granted, the temporary restraining order would have compelled Anaplex Corp. at 15547 Garfield Ave. to shut down all equipment with the potential to emit hexavalent chromium if the level of cancer-causing compound at the facility’s fence line exceeded a specified threshold.
That threshold is 1.0 nanograms per cubic meter, determined by an average of the three most recent air monitoring samples taken by SCAQMD at a monitor immediately downwind of the facility. Samples are collected once every three days.
The conditions are the same as the ones imposed upon Aerocraft Heat Treating Co., Inc. – another Paramount facility found to have high hexavalent chromium emissions – by the SCAQMD Hearing Board on Dec. 16.
While Aerocraft voluntarily agreed to terms of the Hearing Board’s order, Anaplex refused to do so. For that reason SCAQMD and the County of Los Angeles sought an immediate, enforceable order from Superior Court.
SCAQMD will now seek an order against Anaplex at the Jan. 5 hearing before the SCAQMD Hearing Board. Members of the public may testify during the hearing. For more information on SCAQMD’s efforts to identify and reduce emissions of hexavalent chromium in Paramount see http://www.aqmd.gov/home/regulations/compliance/air-monitoring-activities.
In late October, SCAQMD officials first detected high levels of hexavalent chromium – as high as 350 times typical background levels –in an industrial area of Paramount. Since 2013, the SCAQMD has conducted special monitoring in Paramount for toxic metals, focusing on hexavalent chromium and nickel.
In November, SCAQMD determined that Anaplex Corp. and Aerocraft Heat Treating Co., Inc. were causing high levels of hexavalent chromium. The finding resulted from an intensive effort that involved air monitoring, thorough facility inspections and emissions tests of specific pieces of equipment at each facility.
SCAQMD is cooperating with several agencies in its ongoing investigation including the City of Paramount, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, the California Air Resources Board and others.
Anaplex operates chromic acid anodizing tanks, surface treatment tanks and spray coating operations, while Aerocraft conducts metal heat treating, cooling, cutting and grinding. All of these operations can cause hexavalent chromium emissions
Hexavalent chromium is a potent human carcinogen associated with lung cancer when inhaled over long periods of time, typically years to decades. Hexavalent chromium emissions can result from chrome plating and other metal finishing processes used in aerospace and other industrial applications.
The SCAQMD is the air pollution control agency for Orange County and major portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.