U.S. Department of Justice|
Debra Wong Yang
United States Attorney
Central District of California
United States Courthouse
312 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, California 90012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 10, 2005
For Information, Contact Public Affairs|
Thom Mrozek (213) 894-6947
Vernon, Buena Park bottling plants discharged pollutants into L.A. and San Gabriel Rivers
Los Angeles, CA - The Seven-Up/RC Bottling Company of Southern California has agreed to pay more than $1 million in criminal and civil fines for industrial stormwater and wastewater violations at its soft drink bottling plants in Vernon and Buena Park, Calif.
Under the terms of the criminal and civil settlements – which conclude three years of investigation into both Seven-Up facilities by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles and the Environmental Protection Agency – the Seven-Up/RC Bottling Company of Southern California agreed to pay a $600,000 criminal penalty and a $428,250 civil penalty. The company has agreed to pay a $600,000 criminal fine, half of which will be dedicated to supporting environmental projects administered by Channel Islands National Park, the National Marine Fisheries Service, Los Angeles County and the California Hazardous Materials Association.
This morning, a representative of Seven-Up entered guilty pleas to 12 counts of violating the Clean Water Act. United States District Judge A. Howard Matz scheduled a sentencing hearing for March 23. The sentence proposed in a plea agreement between the government and Seven-Up is not binding on Judge Matz.
United States Attorney Debra Wong Yang stated: "The health of our citizens and our environment are of paramount importance. We strive to keep our waters clean and ensure that business does it part to protect the environment. I am pleased that the Seven-Up/RC Bottling Company has taken responsibility for its actions. The criminal fine paid by the company will benefit several environment programs that will benefit all citizens of Southern California."
"Today's settlement reinforces EPA's commitment to protect public health by holding Seven-Up accountable for their illegal discharges into the Los Angeles and San Gabriel River," said Wayne Nastri, Regional Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency's Pacific Southwest Region. "We will continue to protect our waters and human health and prosecute those who violate our environmental laws."
Polluted runoff is the leading cause of water pollution in the Los Angeles area. Stormwater runoff can carry pollutants from industrial sources – metals, oil and grease, acidic wastewater, bacteria, trash and other toxic pollutants – into nearby water sources. The EPA requires industrial facilities to prevent water pollution by complying with federal and state water pollution requirements.
The Regional Water Quality Control Boards in Los Angeles and Santa Ana, the Orange County Sanitation District, the city of Vernon, and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works assisted the EPA and the United States Attorney's Office in its investigation.
Release No. 05-153
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