California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has ordered Dick’s Auto Wreckers in Fontana to stop allegedly releasing hazardous waste and has asked the county Superior Court to impose penalties.

DTSC is asking the Los Angeles County Superior Court to impose on Dick’s Auto Wreckers penalties up to $25,000 a day for each of the alleged violations of hazardous waste law their scientists documented. Hazardous levels of lead, zinc and other toxic metals were discovered in the soil at the facility, DTSC said.

DTSC also ordered the company to investigate, through a state-monitored process, the spread of contamination found through DTSC’s enforcement work -- including any contamination that may have migrated into the surrounding neighborhood -- and to clean it up.

This is the latest in a string of enforcement actions DTSC, a state department tasked with protecting Californians from dangerous chemicals, has taken against metal recyclers conducting business in California. Many of these operations, like Dick’s Auto Wreckers, are in vulnerable communities that suffer from multiple sources of pollution.

"DTSC has a profound responsibility to protect all Californians from the effects of hazardous chemicals,” said DTSC Director Meredith Williams. “We remain steadfastly committed to robust enforcement of hazardous waste laws, especially in our vulnerable communities where residents for far too long have disproportionally suffered from pollution.”

Dick’s Auto Wreckers, located at 15185 Whittram Avenue in the western area of Fontana, is in a mixed-use neighborhood. The nearest home is about 500 feet away.

The company is now required to meet certain deadlines and submit site investigation reports to DTSC, including a detailed contamination cleanup plan. DTSC will notify the surrounding community so residents can weigh in on the company’s proposed plan when it is available.

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