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State fines Lathrop glass plant $20OK for hazardous waste issues

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POSTED October 31, 2013 11:55 p.m.

LATHROP – Pilkington North America, Inc., a company that manufactures float glass used by architectural and automotive markets will pay more than $200,000 to settle violations of hazardous waste laws, the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has announced.

Pilkington has a history of hazardous waste violations that date back to 2007 at its Lathrop facility at 500 East Louise Ave., according to the report.

A stipulation for entry of final judgment on consent filed by the California Attorney General’s Office on behalf of DTSC secures injunctive relief and requires that Pilkington pay a total of $207,723 including $187,975 in civil penalties and $19,748 in reimbursement of DTSC’s costs.

A complaint filed in Sacramento County Superior Court contains 15 causes of action, including illegal storage of hazardous waste, illegal disposal of hazardous waste, failure to have a legally mandated contingency plan to deal with spills or other unplanned releases, and inadequate training of staff who handle hazardous waste at the facility.

“Compliance with the Hazardous Waste Control Law is vital to protecting the environment and precluding health risks to workers and the community,” said Paul Kewin, division chief for DTSC’s Enforcement and Emergency Response Program. “This settlement signifies the department’s continuing efforts to uphold both environmental safety and compliance with existing law.”

Some of the most serious violations that DTSC identified during its December 2010 inspection of Pilkington include illegal disposal of hazardous and extremely hazardous waste onto the floors of the facility. Inspectors found acid spills in the battery recharging area, selenium powder in the raw materials section and used oil on the ground throughout the facility.

Pilkington also appears to have operated an aerosol can processing device without first obtaining required approval from the local Certified Unified Program Agency. DTSC found the aerosol can puncturing device improperly stored on a wooden pallet without secondary containment, and employees were allowed to operate the device without proper training.

Before it became the Pilkington facility in Lathrop, the sprawling industrial property occupying most of the area between Howland Road and South Harlan Road on the south side of Louise Avenue was the home of Libby-Owens-Ford. The glass company opened in the 1960s, and for decades after that, it employed a number of residents in Manteca and Lathrop. Many of these workers came from Ohio where they had worked for years – decades for some of them – at the glass plant there until it closed, forcing them to follow the job in Lathrop where Libbey-Owens-Ford opened the new facility. For years, Libbey-Owens-Ford and the former Sharpe Army Depot between Roth Road and Lathrop Road, were the biggest employees in and around the Lathrop area.

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