LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The company that produces Crystal Geyser Natural Alpine Spring Water pleaded guilty Thursday morning to federal charges of illegally storing and transporting hazardous waste created by filtering arsenic out of water at its Olancha facility.
CG Roxane, LLC pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful storage of hazardous waste and one count of unlawful transportation of hazardous material. In a plea agreement, CG Roxane agreed to pay a criminal fine of $5 million.
According to court documents, CG Roxane discharged arsenic-contaminated wastewater into a man-made pond — known as “the Arsenic Pond” — at its Olancha facility along Highway 395 for approximately 15 years.
In March 2013, CG Roxane was notified by Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control that the arsenic levels in the pond were anywhere from five to eight times the federal hazardous waste limit and were a danger to the area’s groundwater and wildlife.
In May 2015, the company hired two Los Angeles-area entities to remove the hazardous waste and transport it at the instruction of the DTSC, court documents showed.
Court documents said the removal was done without a proper manifest or identification of the wastewater as a hazardous material. The arsenic-contaminated wastewater was then taken to a facility not authorized to receive or treat hazardous waste and, as a result, more than 23,000 gallons of wastewater from the Arsenic Pond was allegedly discharged into a sewer without treatment, court documents said.
CG Roxane pleaded guilty to the two felony offenses. Sentencing, where the company is expected to be ordered to pay a $5 million fine, is scheduled for Feb. 24.
In addition to CG Roxane, the two companies hired to transport and treat the wastewater — United Pumping Services, Inc. and United Storm Water, Inc., both located in the City Of Industry — were charged. Both companies are scheduled to go on trial April 21. If convicted, each company would face a statutory maximum fine of $8 million.