The office of Sacramento County, Calif., District Attorney Jan Scully has filed a civil enforcement action against River City Waste Recyclers, which operates five recycling yards in the county.
The action is part of a joint effort by the District Attorney’s office, along with the Sacramento County Counsel, Sacramento County Environmental Management Department, the Sacramento County Building & Code Enforcement Department, the California Department of Weights & Measurements, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control, the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District, the Cosumnes Fire District and the Sacramento Police Department.
RCWR, owned and operated by Bryan Wilson and Gyan Kalwani, processes a diverse list of recyclables, including wood, metal, batteries and vehicles.
In a statement, D.A. Scully says, “The agencies here today have all dealt with RCWR on a regular basis. My office has the power to bring their issues together in a single lawsuit to force compliance with the law.”
This action charges unfair business practices, violation of zoning laws, and weights and measurements regulations and seeks abatement of a public nuisance. Some of the environmental violations covered in the action are the following:
- Operating a wood chipping facility without proper permits and procedures, resulting in spontaneous combustion fires;
- Creating clouds of dust that pollute the air for nearby residents;
- Releasing hazardous wastes into the ground, including gasoline, diesel fuel oil, used oil, ignitable liquids, cleaning agents and heavy metals;
- Storing hazardous waste without permits;
- Illegally transporting hazardous waste;
- Operating rock crushing equipment without a permit;
- Illegally operating a “chip and grind” operation; and
- Illegally operating a “green waste facility.”
The district attorney’s office adds that it also has filed criminal complaints against the company. “This civil action follows a criminal case my office filed after a joint investigation with the Sacramento Police Department. That investigation began after an epidemic of metal and wire thefts crippled businesses and public entities throughout the county,” Scully says.
Criminal charges for stolen property and records keeping violations were brought against five RCWR employees, including Wilson and Kalwani.
The illegal activities covered in the civil suit were spread over all five of the company’s facilities. They included possession of stolen material, improper storage of hazardous waste at the site, grinding of wood waste without a proper permit and improperly managing piles of material.
According to the D.A.’s office, another important part of this lawsuit is making RCWR follow the requirement that recyclers document the type, source and amount of material they buy and sell.