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San Luis Obispo Fined for Hazardous Waste Dumping

After denying the illegal disposal of dangerous chemicals, the city of San Luis Obispo paid an $8,690 fine earlier this year for the dumping of harmful waste at the city’s corporate yard.

The California Department of Toxic Substances Control, and other regulatory agencies, began to investigate the deliberate dumping of the chemicals following an exclusive story on the incident. Bud Nance, a manager with the city’s utility department, told several of his employees to empty cans of varnish, paints, epoxy, creosotes and acetones in the yard’s asphalt parking lot adjacent to a wetlands region.

After the story broke, the city responded by suggesting it was only five gallons of paint, and the deliberate dumping was limited to an area covered by asphalt, and the disposal of paints to dry for eradication is an allowable action. However, photos and emails from within the company make it evident that there was much more than paint.

San Luis Obispo Initially Denied the Accusations of Illegal Dumping

The DTSC tested soil samples in the area and discovered creosote in the soil. Following the illicit dumping, county and city officials tried to keep quiet about the spilling. A series of emails show some of the San Luis Obispo city employees attempting to downplay the issue.

Two weeks after the chemicals were poured out, city management asked San Luis Obispo Fire Department Hazardous Material Coordinator Kerry Boyle, who coordinates with the city’s environmental health department, to investigate the area.

After Dumping Lead Paint Near a Wetlands Area, the City Is Facing a Hefty Fine

Boyle would later supervise cleanup, which required the removal of the chemicals by trained hazardous waste laborers. Boyle gave the city a notice of violation, and claimed that the city’s staff violated around 16 laws regarding San Luis Obispo’s dumping, disposal, and supervision of hazardous chemicals laws.

The city is required to pay a fine and the environmental regulatory agency would drop all but two of the violations.


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