SACRAMENTO, March 28, 2022 – California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) announced today that it has ordered the operators of Sims Metal Management in Redwood City to determine the extent of toxic pollution coming from their facility and to clean it up.
The facility is within two miles of several day care centers, parks, hospitals, schools and homes, and DTSC is concerned about potential health impacts on those populations. The 12-acre recycling and shredding operation is adjacent to Redwood Creek, a public trail and two islands that are part of the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Redwood Creek leads into San Francisco Bay.
“DTSC has a responsibility to protect communities and the environment from companies and industries that pollute,” said DTSC Director Dr. Meredith Williams. “Metal recycling facilities have drawn our attention because of the potential exposure from harmful materials coming from these types of operations.”
Sims receives, sorts, separates and stores bulk metal scrap for sale and export, and operates a conveyor that deposits the material onto ships.
The business located near the Port of Redwood City has a history of violating hazardous waste laws, including releasing elevated levels of lead, zinc and cadmium both on- and off-site. As recently as 2019, DTSC inspectors discovered hazardous waste levels of toxic chemicals in several places within facility grounds. Inspectors also found buildup of light fibrous materials, a hazardous substance, on the facility’s pavement and near its operations.
The investigation and cleanup evaluation will include recent and historical release at the facility, including any impacts from a March 9 fire.
This enforcement order is the latest in a string of similar actions by DTSC against metal recyclers and shredders statewide. Many of these operations are in neighborhoods that suffer from high amounts of pollution, according to CalEnviroscreen, an online tool that identifies vulnerable communities.
Under the enforcement order, the named parties must meet certain deadlines and submit required investigation reports to DTSC, including a plan for cleaning up contamination. DTSC will notify the surrounding community so residents can weigh in on the proposed cleanup plan.DTSC’s Mission is to protect California’s people, communities, and environment from toxic substances, to enhance economic vitality by restoring contaminated land, and to compel manufacturers to make safer consumer products. www.dtsc.ca.gov