Industrial facility in Garden Grove penalized $1.14 million for soil, groundwater contamination

Cham-Cal Engineering Co. and Western Avenue Associates, L.P. have been slapped with a $1.14 million penalty by the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board for failing to comply with a 2016 Cleanup and Abatement Order.

Cham-Cal, the operator and owner of a facility in Garden Grove that manufactures commercial truck accessories, used and stored tetrachloroethene (PCE) in its vapor degreasing operation, resulting in repeated discharges of the suspected cancer-causing contaminant to soil and groundwater on industrial property owned by Western Avenue Associates.

The 2016 order required Cham-Cal and Western Avenue Associates to remediate the contaminated soil, soil vapor and groundwater beneath the facility and submit technical reports to the regional board.

“Our staff worked with Cham-Cal and Western Avenue Associates for several years trying to get them to comply with the cleanup and abatement order,” said Santa Ana Water Board Chair William Ruh. “Yet despite our efforts, the order’s requirements were not fulfilled. In addition to recovering the companies’ economic gains from noncompliance, this penalty should motivate Cham-Cal to clean up the site and deter other dischargers from engaging in similar behavior.”

Cham-Cal and Western Avenue Associates are subject to daily penalties of up to $5,000 for each violation per the California Water Code and the State Water Resources Control Board’s Enforcement Policy.

If they remain in noncompliance, they could be subject to additional penalties.

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