A pair of Valley plastic product manufacturers have reached settlements with the Environmental Protection Agency over violations of the Clean Water Act.
Western States Packaging Inc. in Pacoima and Direct Pack Inc. in Sun Valley were fined in December 2015 for the improper disposal of “nurdles,” tiny plastic beads that are used to make jars, bags and films. Western States was found to have spilled the pellets in its facility without proper control measures; Direct Pack did not have necessary containment devices in place to prevent nurdles from entering local waterways, according to the EPA.
The firms’ practices may have resulted in nurdles entering the Los Angeles River by way of storm drains that discharge into the Tujunga Wash, which empties into the river, the EPA said. The pellets pose a danger to birds, fish and other wildlife, as ingesting them can lead to starvation by displacing food in the animals’ stomachs.
Direct Pack was also cited for discharging industrial wastewater without the proper permit, incorrectly storing chemicals and other violations. Neither company could be reached for comment by press time.
Both Western States Packaging and Direct Pack have corrected the issues and are now in compliance with the law, according to a statement from the EPA. Western States will pay a $25,000 penalty, while Direct Pack will pay $42,900, the agency said.