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Judge rules Oakland company liable for cleanup costs

The facility operated by E-D Coat, Inc. on 4th St in Oakland
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The facility operated by E-D Coat, Inc. on 4th St in Oakland

Editors Note: A pervious version of this story named the company as the "Oakland Department of Toxic Substances" but it has now been corrected to the "California Department of Toxic Substances."

Today, E-D Coat, Inc. — located at 715 4th Street in Oakland — appears to be primarily a registered trucking company.

But according to an archived version of the company’s now-defunct website, E-D Coat was initially founded in 1938 to deliver metal plating services.

Over the past 20 years, regulators have frequently cited the company’s alleged irresponsible handling of waste products.

In 2002, the company’s then-president pled guilty to violating the Clean Waters Act by discharging untreated wastewater into sewers operated by East Bay MUD, and ten years later, the utility revoked E-D Coat’s wastewater discharge permit after finding evidence of further violations.

In 2017, investigators ordered the company to clean up corroded vats of toxic chemicals found leaking at the Fourth Street facility.

E-D Coat did not comply in a timely manner, so the California Department of Toxic Substances Control filed suit in 2020 to compel the company to pay for completion of the cleanup work.

The company then disputed charges that toxic chemicals had been released from its plant after its initial guilty plea in 2002.

However, E-D Coat failed to produce documents necessary for the case to proceed, and on Friday, US District Court Judge Vince Chhabria ruled the company responsible for all past and future costs associated with cleaning up its facility – estimated in the millions of dollars. The company has 90 days to pay or appeal the decision.

Andrew is a scientist and communicator who wants to make scientific research accessible to everyone and to ensure that science is discussed accurately and responsibly.
Sunni M. Khalid is a veteran of more than 40 years in journalism, having worked in print, radio, television, and web journalism.