An environmental non-profit group is targeting five more California finishing operations with alleged violations of the state’s safe drinking act.

The Center for Environmental Health (CEH) based in Oakland sent legal notices to five metal plating facilities on June 12 in Los Angeles County, claiming the facilities are discharging toxic PFAS chemicals into groundwater.

The facilities are:

  • Alloy Processing / Precision Castparts at 1900 West Walnut Street in Anaheim.
  • Bowman Plating at 2613 E 126th Street in Compton.
  • Coast Plating / Valence Los Angeles at 417 164th Street in Carson.
  • Moog Specialized Systems at 20263 S Western Avenue in Torrance
  • Universal Metal Plating at 1526 W 1st Street in Azusa.

This action comes on the heels of CEH filing legal notices in May against Bay Area finishers Electro-Coatings of California and Teikuro Corporation.

The CEH filed “60-Day Legal Notices” against all the shops under the California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, or Prop 65. The state law allows any person suing “in the public interest” to enforce Proposition 65; California calls these parties “private enforcers,” and the Attorney General may include themselves in the case and any possible litigation.

The group alleges the shops discharged perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) higher than EPA’s new proposed drinking water ‎standard of 4 parts per trillion.

The CEH says it is targeting manufacturers that it alleges violated Prop 65 that are in low-income areas. The 27-year-old organization says it is looking at facilities that violate safe water drinking laws across the U.S.

“Indigenous communities and communities of color have for centuries brought attention to the importance of our collective waters and how they contribute to healthy and thriving ecosystems and people,” says Kaya Allan Sugerman, Director of Illegal Toxic Threats at CEH. “Grassroots leaders responding to PFAS drinking water contamination – from North Carolina to California, to Hawaiʻi – remind us that ‘Water is life.’ State and federal agencies must treat these toxic chemical exposure issues like our lives depend upon it because they do.”

Enforcement of Prop 65 violations is carried out through civil lawsuits brought by the California Attorney General or by a district attorney or city attorney of a city with a population exceeding 750,000. Private parties acting in the public interest — which includes groups such as CEH — can also bring Prop 65 lawsuits, but only if they have provided at least 60 days' notice of the alleged violation to the business.

In the CEH notifications, the group is asking each of the facilities to:

  • Immediately abate the threat of additional PFOS discharges;
  • Clean the groundwater surrounding the Facility to remove the PFOS as well as from the soil surrounding the Facility; and 
  • Pay an appropriate civil penalty based on the factors enumerated in California Health and Safety Code Section 25249.7(b).

If the CEH reaches a settlement with each shop, they must gain approval from the California Attorney General.