December 1, 2021

Kettleman Landfill Fined $300,000

waste management

A Waste Management facility in Kettleman, California has been handed a healthy fine for not properly managing the disposal of PCBs

Waste Management Inc., which owns a facility outside of Kettleman, California, has been fined for not properly disposing of the chemical polychlorinated biphenyl or PCBs. The fine of $302,100 is for mismanagement of PCBs within the property.

PCBs are commonly found in circuit breakers, plasticizers, additives in lubricating and cutting oils, electrical transformers, flame retardants, paints and voltage regulators or switches. The chemical is cancer causing and the area around the waste facility has recently been plagued with birth defects. Since 2007, Kettleman City has had 11 cases of cleft palate and other birth defects.

The Environmental Protection Agency does not know if the birth defects are related to the chemicals, but they are in the final stages of a study that will evaluate the potential risk to human health and the environment.

Waste Management Inc. is the largest hazardous waste plant in the Western United States. It is one of ten PCB regulated PCB landfills in the country.

The EPA discovered the problems at the sight earlier this year during numerous inspections. The agency and the state of California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control, discovered PCB spills which Waste Management has now cleaned up. There is no way to know if these current spills posed any danger to surrounding communities.

Tests have shown that these chemicals do cause cancer in animals.