SRS reaches settlement with California DTSC

West Chicago, Illinois-based Sims Recycling Solutions (SRS), a leading provider of global information technology asset disposition (ITAD) services, and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) have reached an agreement to resolve issues resulting from Summary of Violations (SOVs) issued following August 2011 and March 2015 site inspections at the SRS facility in Roseville, California.

The settlement relates to indoor electronics shredding operations that were previously conducted at the facility. SRS says the settlement consists of a $275,000 civil penalty and a payment of $125,000 to reimburse DTSC for its costs incurred in this matter.

“Long before the settlement was reached, Roseville had promptly addressed any issues identified by DTSC and as of last year no longer operates the Roseville shredder,” SRS says.

DTSC says the violations include, but are not limited to, the illegal treatment, storage, transportation and disposal of hazardous waste containing mercury, copper, lead, nickel and zinc, among other compounds, and failure to operate its facility in a manner to minimize the release of hazardous waste.

“Compliance with hazardous waste laws is critical in protecting public health and the environment, and we take these violations very seriously,” says Keith Kihara, chief of DTSC’s Enforcement and Emergency Response Division.

As is typical of all DTSC court-approved settlements, DTSC filed a complaint after a settlement was agreed to as a means of lodging the settlement Stipulation with the court. The Stipulation settles all the claims made by DTSC in that complaint. While Sims agreed to settle this matter through the Stipulation, it did not admit to any of the allegations or claims made in the complaint or Stipulation. Most of those claims related to dust, either “baghouse dust” collected from the shredding process or fugitive dust that was present in the air around the shredder, SRS explains.

Based on prior DTSC concurrence going back to 2007, SRS says the Roseville facility assumed it was entitled to manage the baghouse dust as an “excluded recyclable material” based on the valuable recoverable metals that are contained in the dust. According to DTSC, it subsequently changed its interpretation of the recycling provisions and withdrew the earlier approval, but it did so without advising Roseville. DTSC also asserted that the use of an atomized water misting system to control temperature and remove residual dust from the air around the shredder violated a prohibition against the addition of water to the “treatment” (shredding) process.

Steve Skurnac, president of SRS, says, “All issues have long since been resolved and SRS has since moved on from that Roseville shredder-based business.”

SRS is a global leader in electronics reuse and recycling. As a part of Sims Metal Management Ltd., the world’s leading publicly listed metal and electronics recycler with headquarters in New York and Sydney, SRS has 20 years’ experience in ITAD and mobile device refurbishment and recycling services either directly or through acquired businesses. SRS provides disposition services for all types of retired electronic equipment to local, national and global customers in business sectors that include data centers, health care, financial services and technical organizations.