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Company fined Neal Putnam | Sat, Jun 14 2014 12:00 PM

A Chula Vista tank cleaning firm has been fined $50,000 for a toxic spill that occurred on National Avenue near an elementary school in 2011 when the firm was located in San Diego.

Pacific Tank Cleaning is a family-owned business which employs 85 people and they clean industrial tanks and piping, mostly aboard ships. On March 28, 2011, a valve on a 275-gallon plastic container failed, spilling its contents onto the ground and ran down an alley, eventually pooling in front of an elementary school.

The company pleaded guilty to failure to report a toxic release, a felony, in February and was sentenced May 28 by U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Huff. The firm also was ordered to pay a $400 penalty assessment fee. She could have imposed a maximum $500,000 fine.

A company that insures PTC washed and vacuumed the remaining liquid from the street and alley and properly disposed of it at a cost of $17,000.

Awaiting sentencing on June 24 is Luquin, who still works for PTC. He pleaded guilty to committing an unlawful discharge of pollutants, a misdemeanor. He faces a maximum sentence of one year in jail, and a minimum fine of $2,500.

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