Gallo Wine Bottle Maker Sued By State For Using Lead And Arsenic Hazardous Waste Dust

The Ernest and Julio Gallo glass production company, Gallo Glass Company, is surprised that the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) is suing them for allegedly storing and recycling oil and hazardous dust containing arsenic, lead, selenium, and cadmium for six years.

According to the state agency, Gallo Glass Company broke the law because they recycled hazardous dust improperly from 2009 until 2014.

Capital Public Radio reports the following comments made by Keith Kihara, a spokesperson for DTSC.

“What Gallo was doing was getting this dust that was collected by the air pollution control device and re-introducing it as an ingredient in the glass-making process. They should have been managing it properly by either sending it to a treatment or a disposal facility.”

Gallo and the DTSC have been negotiating for the last six years. According to Kihara, DTSC filed the lawsuit because the statute of limitations is running out.

In a March 2 press release, the California Attorney General’s Office filed a complaint against Gallo Glass Company for allegedly using hazardous waste in the company’s wine bottle making process. In addition, DTSC cites that Gallo Glass Company failed to train company personnel properly.

Additional violations made by Gallo Glass Company include failure to report fires that took place at the production facility during 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2011.

As far as the hazardous waste is concerned, Gallo Glass Company’s Chris Savage says they used the waste instead of using salt cake, a compound usually used in the glass making process.

Savage maintains Gallo Glass did not break any state or federal laws. Other glass production companies throughout the world use the same glass making process Gallo Glass does, according to Savage. Nonetheless, Gallo Glass is trucking close to thousands of tons of hazardous waste to landfills each year.

Savage reiterated to Capital Public Radio that Gallo Glass Company is following the proper hazardous waste disposal protocol.

“It is going to an appropriate landfill for the type of material it is, so it’s being protected there. But, it would be far better to put it back into the glass-making process versus filling up landfills. All of the product is melted together and then when it cools, the process of cooling vitrifies the product and it locks it up inside the glass. So, you have no exposure at all to any of components that go in glass.”

Gallo Glass Company faces a $25,000 fine per day for each violation.

[Featured image courtesy of Scott Olson/Getty Images]