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Do you live near a toxic wastewater site?

Crystal Geyser is in hot water. The bottled water company may be facing a $8 million fine if found guilty of illegally dumping toxic waste.

You don't have to worry drinking toxic water -- none of the tainted product ever made it to the shelves. At issue is how CG Roxane LLC, the California parent company, handled its wastewater. The company has been charged with violating federal law by improperly transporting and disposing of arsenic.

A problematic process

During the bottling process, Crystal Geyser draws water from sources that contained arsenic, a naturally occurring mineral. Since arsenic is a carcinogen that poses a serious risk to humans, the company used sand filters to remove the poisonous material. This is a legally acceptable way to treat water for public consumption. However, this method creates thousands of gallons of wastewater that is laced with arsenic.

Crystal Geyser allegedly disposed of this wastewater into a man-made pond — dubbed “the Arsenic Pond” by the company — near their production facility in Olancha. After testing the water, the state classified it as hazardous waste. Crystal Geyser was forced to stop using the pond for dumping and began looking for a workaround.

More accomplices get involved

Since the company couldn’t discharge the arsenic water on its premises, it started shipping it out, according to the indictment. It hired two other companies — United Pumping Services and United Storm Water — to transport the tainted water to a hazardous waste facility. However, they did not properly disclose the poisonous nature of the material being transported. On another occasion, the three companies allegedly worked together to transport the water from the Arsenic Pond to a non-hazardous waste site.

Running a dangerous operation

If the allegations are true, this company’s actions not only violate federal law, but also jeopardizes the safety of the surrounding communities. There is a reason that dumping toxic chemicals is illegal. It is in the public interest to aggressively prosecute companies that intentionally disobey these regulations for business purposes.

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