News Releases

June 19, 2019: Trucking Company Agrees to Settlement for Illegally Transporting Hazardous Waste

Contact: 
Paul Eakins, Public Information Officer
(213) 257-2000

Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey and Los Angeles County Counsel Mary C. Wickham announced today the settlement of an environmental civil enforcement lawsuit brought against an Alabama-based trucking company accused of unlawfully transporting hazardous waste and contaminating public roadways with lead and corrosive liquids.

Wiley Sanders Truck Lines, Inc., will pay $885,000 in penalties, fees and funding to address the environmental damage related to the violations, pursuant to the terms of the stipulated judgment and injunction. The company also is required to make corrective actions to its business practices.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Richard E. Rico approved the settlement on June 5. Wiley Sanders agreed to the settlement without admitting any liability or wrongdoing.

According to the civil complaint in case 19STCV15850 filed on May 1, the company was hired to transport plastic component waste from a Vernon lead-smelting facility to a recycling plant in Bakersfield. The facility disassembled lead-acid batteries and melted down the lead for reuse.

The hazardous plastic waste that Wiley Sanders transported from 2011 to 2013 was not properly treated, stored or placed in secure or sealed containers before leaving the facility, the complaint states. Wiley Sanders’ trucks leaked the hazardous contents onto the ground, streets and roads in the surrounding communities, as well as on highways and freeways, during transit, according to the complaint.

The company’s failure to properly transport harmful and dangerous pollutants caused the unlawful release of hazardous waste and water pollutants, including lead and corrosives, into the surrounding communities and posed a threat to the environment and public health and safety, the complaint states.

Among the provisions of the settlement, Wiley Sanders is:

  • Prohibited from disposing of or transporting hazardous waste via roadways or at locations not authorized to handle or receive hazardous substances.
  • Required to transport hazardous and corrosive waste in trucks, trailers and containers that are suitable for transporting such materials and that are free of leaks.
  • Prohibited from releasing hazardous waste into the environment.
  • Prohibited from engaging in unfair and fraudulent business acts, practices and competition.
  • Required, per a plea agreement in a separate federal criminal case for the waste transport violations, to pay $1.5 million into Los Angeles County’s Environmental Response and Assessment Fund (ERAF) created by this settlement. The payment into this fund must be made within 30 days of the sentencing hearing in the federal case.

The county’s $885,000 settlement includes $480,000 in civil penalties, $85,000 to reimburse investigation and other costs of the County Counsel’s Office and $320,000 for the ERAF.

This county-created fund will receive a total of $1.82 million from the county settlement and the federal case. If Wiley Sanders violates the terms of the settlement, it will be liable for a civil penalty of up to $6,000 per violation.

Additionally, the corporation could face contempt proceedings and other measures if it violates the terms.

The case was handled for the District Attorney’s Office by Deputy District Attorney Christopher Curtis of the Environmental Crimes Division.