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Washing Toxin into Storm Drain results in Environmental Enforcement

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Washing Toxin into Storm Drain results in Environmental Enforcement

District Attorney Jill Ravitch announced today that defendant Trius Diagnostic Imaging, Inc. of Stockton has resolved a civil environmental enforcement case that occurred on 10/29/13 at Spring Creek Medical Plaza, located at 1144 Sonoma Avenue in Santa Rosa.

The investigation revealed that while a piece of radiology equipment was being moved from one of the medical offices and being loaded onto a truck for transport to Trius’ Stockton facility, Trius employees spilled an unknown liquid.  Rather than report the spill to the authorities, the employees hosed the spilled material into a storm drain leading to Spring Creek. A citizen noticed the spill and contacted the Santa Rosa Police Department. Officers responded, along with the Hazardous Materials Team from the Santa Rosa Fire Department.  Spring Creek Medical Plaza owners used a private company to clean up the spilled material which contained some petroleum.  First responders could not determine the quantity of the spill or whether it entered Spring Creek.  

District Attorney Ravitch stated, “Businesses may not use storm drains to dispose of hazardous materials because all storm drains flow to our creeks.  We will take all appropriate enforcement measures to protect our creeks.” 

The agreement reached between Trius and the District Attorney’s Office requires that Trius Diagnostics Imaging, Inc. pay a total of $50,661.97 in penalties and clean up costs. Of this amount, Trius will pay a penalty for an unlawful business activity of $7,500, clean-up costs in the amount of $34,818.97 (to the business owners of the Spring Creek Medical Plaza) and $5,343 in investigation costs to the City of Santa Rosa and the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office.  The defendant will pay restitution in the amount of $3,000 to an account that will benefit local watershed projects in Sonoma County.  Additionally the agreement requires that Trius must train its employees annually regarding reporting hazardous materials releases and reporting emergency spills.  The case was prosecuted by the Environmental and Consumer Law Division of the District Attorney’s Office and Deputy District Attorney Ann Gallagher White, assisted by District Attorney Investigator Lisa Chapman.  Detective Mark Azzouni of Santa Rosa Police Department’s Environmental Crimes Unit  headed the investigation.