The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has declared Davis Wire, a manufacturer of galvanized wire, guilty of negligently discharging acidic pollutants into a publically owned treatment works from its plant in Irwindale on a routine basis, and has fined the company for this criminal act.

Davis Wire is now required to pay $1.5m in restitution to the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts (LACSD) for damage done to its sewer system, and pay a $25,000 criminal fine for making acidic discharges between pH levels of 4.0 and 1.0, well below its wastewater discharge permit level.

Davis Wire, which uses sulfuric acid in the manufacturing process and is required to upgrade its wastewater treatment system to neutralize the acid before sending it to the public sewer, is claimed to have made14 illegal discharges throughout the months of February, March, April and May 2008.

The joint investigation and prosecution effort was led by EPA’s Office of Criminal Enforcement, FBI, LACSD, Los Angeles County Public Works and Los Angeles County Fire Department, California Department of Toxic Substances Control, and the US Attorney for the Central District of California.

EPA regional administrator of the Pacific Southwest Jared Blumenfeld said that Davis Wire has an extensive history of noncompliance since at least 2004, including repeated discharges of highly acidic wastewater.

“Their illegal discharges put the surrounding community at risk by damaging the sewer pipes, potentially impacting public health and the environment,” Blumenfeld said.