Department of Ecology News Release - March 7, 2013

13-067

Tacoma radiator shop fined $40,000 for dangerous waste violations

OLYMPIA -- The Washington  Department of Ecology (Ecology) has fined Performance Radiator of Tacoma $40,000 for ongoing state dangerous waste violations.

Ecology fined Performance Radiator, located at 2705 South Tacoma Way for not following standards for dangerous waste tanks, and for failing to clean up previous spills of dangerous waste.

Ecology levied the penalty after numerous attempts to get the business to comply with standards to prevent releases of dangerous waste.

In November 2010, Ecology discovered the company failed to adhere to dangerous waste regulations by allowing a toxic sludge-like material to accumulate on its floor and in a drain sump without removing it daily. This sludge-like material contained high levels of lead, copper and zinc, all of which are toxic to the environment. Depending on their concentrations, lead, copper and zinc also can threaten the health of people.

An engineering consultant hired by Performance Radiator also found the sump was leaking and recommended replacing it.

The company finally removed the sump a year later in October 2011, leaving a 3-foot by 3-foot hole in the floor. Soil samples revealed the damaged sump had contaminated the soil beneath the shop with the heavy metals. Ecology directed the company to take action, including soil sampling, to determine the extent of contamination and develop a plan to clean it up.

Following a June 2012 inspection, Ecology directed Performance Radiator to stop operating in the area where the hole was present until the concrete was restored. Ecology also instructed the company to finish the soil investigation and replace the sump. 

Performance Radiator did not follow Ecology’s directives for fixing the hole in the floor to reduce risk of further contamination.

K Seiler, Ecology Hazardous Waste Program Manager, said: “Ecology prefers to work with a company to fix problems before issuing fines and orders. Performance Radiator’s inaction and lack of response to our many requests continues to risk additional contamination of their property.”

The radiator repair shop is located in the South Tacoma Groundwater Protection District. It is also adjacent to Well 12A, an Environmental Protection Agency Superfund site.

Tim Pavolka, General Manager of Performance Radiator, said the company is working to address the issue.

“This area of concern was entirely under the footprint of our building, which is located in an old industrial area. We’ve removed about nine cubic yards of dirt.”

Performance Radiator may appeal the penalty to the Pollution Control Hearings Boards within 30 days.

###

Media contacts:

Linda Kent, Ecology media relations, 360-407-6239, 360-791-9830 (cell); linda.kent@ecy.wa.gov

Tim Pavolka, Performance Radiator, 253-606-7610

Ecology’s social media (www.ecy.wa.gov/about/newmedia.html)