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Two plead guilty after California sewage plant explosion

23 November 2015

Two officials pleaded guilty on November 20 to part of the charges in the criminal case stemming from a chemical explosion last year at the Santa Clara Waste Water Co. plant at Santa Paula, California. The two men face a maximum of three years in jail on the charges, with sentencing set for 1 June, 2016.

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According to the Ventura County Star, the two pled guilty to a failure to warn of serious concealed danger, a felony; interference with enforcement, a misdemeanor; and two misdemeanors relating to storage of hazardous substances and repeated failures to communicate with employees about hazardous substances.

The rear of a vacuum truck exploded on 18 November 2014 at the plant from what appeared to be an unintentional and volatile mixture of domestic waste and the chemical sodium chlorite. One worker has sued the company over his injuries and three firefighters and a paramedic who responded to the scene are still on disability leave.

Seven other company officials and employees including the Chairman and CEO are scheduled to be arraigned in December.

The blast sent 52 people to hospitals, including 10 firefighters. All but two were quickly treated and released. No injuries were life-threatening.

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