Recycling Center

Pacific Auto Recycling Center President Robert Hall stands in front of a pile of shredded steel that was once vehicles or appliances.

LANCASTER — Pacific Auto Recycling Center turns junk vehicles that would otherwise go to waste into scrap metal or recycled parts.

The facility, at 255 West Ave. H, opened in January 2017.  

The company’s future could be in jeopardy if proposed new regulations under consideration by the California Department of Toxic Substance Control go into effect.

The DTSC looks to address the chemical treatment of hazardous waste, or metal shredder residue, before it reaches a solid waste landfill.

The Department’s proposed regulations would require significant permitting and other regulatory requirements for recyclers even if they do not use hazardous chemicals to process scrap metal.

“It’s like this one-size-fits-all approach, and unfortunately that does not work,” PARC President Robert Hall said. “All it does is create more cumbersome policy and hoops for recyclers such as myself, to maintain operations.”

Hall would like the DTSC to distinguish between the metal shredder aggregate his company produces by physical separation, and the chemically treated metal shredder residue processed by others.

If the proposed regulations move forward, Hall would be required to build new infrastructure and purchase new equipment that does not have any operational value to his company.

“If you create such a huge burden and make it incredibly difficult for recycling to take place, simply put it’s not going to happen,” he said.

Hall said they worked with all of the environmental agencies, such as the Antelope Valley Air Quality Management District, to make sure they did everything right as they worked to open the facility.

They used concrete in the yard to prevent vehicles from leaking oil or other liquids into the ground.

Hall said the DTSC is trying to classify everything as hazardous waste.

“It’s the wrong approach,” he said.

Abbott Dutton, media relations manager for the DTSC, said in an email, that the Department “completed an extensive analysis of metal shredding facilities, and their processes, wastes, and potential impacts on human health and the environment, pursuant to Senate Bill 1249 (Hill, Statutes of 2015).”

 “The analysis was conducted in collaboration with other regulatory agencies that oversee environmental and safety compliance at these facilities, and considered industry compliance with those requirements,” Dutton wrote. “It also assessed potential impacts associated with the use of chemically treated metal shredder residue (CTMSR) as alternative daily cover. As part of the evaluation, DTSC sought and considered studies and information from the metal shredding industry and other interested stakeholders.”

Hall said the proposed regulations could create more problems for all recyclers because of the definition they used to define hazardous waste, which was when you substantially changed the shape of something.

“I just think you’re going to increase illegal dumping,” he said.

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