The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered Sims Metal Management, a company that claims to be the largest recycler of metal and electronics in the world, to stop polluting San Francisco Bay with toxic chemicals.
The EPA announced today that Sims was found during inspections last year to be illegally discharging PCBs, mercury, copper, lead, and zinc into the bay at a facility at the Port of Redwood City. The company is now "working cooperatively" to come into compliance with the Clean Water Act, according to the agency.
"The EPA is committed to protecting the Bay by ensuring compliance with environmental permits," EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Jared Blumenfeld said in a statement.
From July 2010 to June 2011, about 22,000 tons of shredded industrial material was transported from Sims' Redwood City plant to locations across the world, including China, according to the EPA. Among the items shredded at Sims are entire cars, the recycled remnants of which, as SF Weekly reported in 2008, can be highly toxic.
Sims has three months in which to create a plan for falling into line with environmental regulations, and one year to eliminate the pollution entirely. The EPA order specifies that Sims must more closely monitor pollution risks during winter storms.
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