Community Recycling Closed, Fined After Worker Deaths

County Supervisors Voted Late Tuesday To Shut Down The Facility Near Lamont

The Kern County Board of Supervisors opted for a harsh punishment for Community Recycling, the facility where two young men died in October, handing down $2.3 million in fines and voting to close the facility completely.

There was emotional testimony from both sides during the eight hour meeting, but none more emotional than that of the mother of the victims, Armando and Eladio Ramirez, who pleaded her case to to shut the company down.

The board of supervisors said this isn't retribution for the deaths of the two young men, saying that's up to the OSHA investigators. They said this is about Community Recycling's continued negligence and noncompliance with county codes, along with a number of violations.

Not only did the supervisors hand down $2.3 million in fines, but they voted to completely shut down the facility.

Tuesday night the board heard evidence that after OSHA explicitly forbade the company to send anyone in the drainage system, they hired a company to enter and clean the holes five times since November 5.

The company is facing fines from five separate violations, including illegally shredding plastics and crushing concrete on site.

The board did struggle with this decision, because 130 workers are now unemployed, right before the holidays.

But they said the law is the law and Community Recycling wasn't obeying despite numerous warnings.

The big worry now is what to do with the treated waste water on site, and as for the facility, that's now in the hands of the Lamont Public Utilities District.

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