Sen. Rubio: Community Recycling Should Be Closed Immediately

Community Recycling Violated California Labor Code, Department Says

The Department of Industrial Relations stated on Tuesday morning stating that Community Recycling and Resource Recovery Inc. may have violated the California Labor code after sending workers into the drainage systems and Sen. Michael Rubio said the company should be closed.

The Kern County Board of Supervisors is in the middle of reviewing CRRR's conditional use permit.

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  • On Oct. 14, the Division of Occupational Safety issued an initial order prohibiting any person from entering storm drain cleaning with employees using water hoses.

    The department also said that it submitted an amended order prohibiting use on Nov. 2 that prohibited any person entering the complete and entire storm drain system where confined spaces are present and all entries and openings into the storm drain system, including a 6-foot area around each opening.

    The division stated that CRRR contracted Russell Warner, Inc., doing business as Roto-Rooter Plumbers, Advanced Sewer Technologies, to operate a vacuum truck for the express purpose of removing and clearing mud and debris from assorted manholes throughout the storm drain system.

    The division stated that Roto-Rooter employees entered the drain system through various openings on Nov. 5, 7, 9, 10 and 11.

    A county report listing all of Community Recycling's past violations recommends a $500,000 fine.

    Rubio issued a statement saying he believes Community Recycling should be closed immediately.

    Rubio also said the $500,000 fine is justified.

    He went on to say "The deaths of the two young brothers, Armando and Eladio Ramirez, last month while cleaning an underground drainage tunnel at the Arvin facility are tragic. Community Recycling has shown an ongoing and deliberate disregard for the terms of their permit as well as the safety of their workers and the community."

    The division said it has made no recommendation for prosecution but will do so if facts support a criminal recommendation when its investigation is complete.

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