- Regulators in Sonoma County, CA want North Bay Corp. to shut down both of its Santa Rosa recycling facilities for repairs, but the company has not fully complied. Officials said they will fine the company $5,000 per day for operating the facilities and have referred the matter to the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office for review, as reported by The Press Democrat.
- Officials issued a cease-and-desist order 16 months ago but North Bay just recently shut down one facility on Monday for a $5 million upgrade. The company expects this will take at least four months and has yet to find enough other options for processing the 350 tons per day that the facility handles.
- So far the company has been fined more than $575,000 for operating the two facilities because they have higher contamination rates than are allowed under the permit requirements. If North Bay chooses to keep the second facility open while construction occurs on the first one, that could result in an additional estimated $600,000 in fines.
These mounting costs for the two facilities, along with the release of a harsh audit by the city of Santa Rosa, have made 2016 a tough year for the Ratto Group. The company's general manager also resigned this summer and the Santa Rosa City Council voted against renewing its contract with North Bay. Based on other alleged violations the company could now owe the city millions of dollars in fines.
While the company has started work on one of the Santa Rosa facilities it seems to be too late for county regulators. Shutting down both facilities at once would clearly be a major challenge for the company but regulators continue to push for it anyway. Company officials say they are willing to work with the district attorney's office once it reviews the situation to decide whether this regulatory approach is appropriate.
Last month, the Ratto Group received some positive attention for its deal with Wrightspeed to begin retrofitting collection vehicles with electric powertrain systems. If North Bay can upgrade both of its Santa Rosa facilities with a similar level of investment and attention to environmental factors that may help rehabilitate its image in the county.