News and Press Releases

Pomona Man Sentenced to Two Years in Prison for Pumping Corrosive and Toxic Waste Down the Toilet

September 28, 2012

LOS ANGELES – A Los Angeles County man has been sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to pay a $30,000 fine after pleading guilty to violating the federal Clean Water Act.

Fernando Salazar, 54, a resident of Pomona, was sentenced earlier this week by District Court Judge R. Gary Klausner after admitting in court that he repeatedly discharged, or caused his employees to discharge, corrosive and toxic industrial wastes from his eletroplating business, Technical Anodize, into the sanitary sewers.

Earlier this morning, co-defendant and former employee of Technical Anodize, Juan Carlos Hernandez-Oceguera, was sentenced to 30 days jail to be followed by seven months home confinement.  Mr. Hernandez had also previously pled guilty to criminal violations of the federal Clean Water Act.

According to the criminal complaints filed in this case, Fernando Salazar had operated Technical Anodize at 1144 Price Street, Pomona, California since approximately 1997.  Between February 2011 and January 2012, undercover sampling and analysis of the sewer discharges from Technical Anodize revealed that the business was routinely discharging corrosive and toxic industrial wastes contaminated with poisonous heavy metals, including zinc, nickel, chromium, and copper.  Following a search warrant on January 31, 2012, employees admitted that Fernando Salazar had discharged the pollutants himself, and trained and directed other employees to do so as well, by secretly using a hose to pump the toxic wastes down the facility’s toilet on a daily basis.  The investigation revealed that the corrosive and toxic wastes then flowed through the sewers to a sewage treatment plant operated by the County Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County.

This criminal investigation was conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division, which received substantial assistance from the County Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County and Los Angeles Fire Department, Health and Hazardous Materials Division.

Release No. 12-130

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