San Jose Company to Pay $25,000 Penalty for Causing Garbage Truck Fires in Campbell

For release on December 1, 2022

CONTACT:

Christopher Judge
Deputy District Attorney
Environmental Protection Unit

(408) 792-2623


San Jose Company to Pay $25,000 Penalty for Causing
Garbage Truck Fires in Campbell

A San Jose recycling company has been ordered by a Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge to pay $25,000 in civil penalties for causing dangerous fires to start in the back of garbage trucks in Campbell.  

The company, iDiskk, LLC, its principal Yue Zou, and her husband Lei Zhang, were all held responsible for improperly throwing away lithium batteries, which burst into flames in three trucks last fall. No one was hurt in the fires. During an October 13 fire, the garbage truck lifted the bin to dump the load in the street to avoid damage to the vehicle. In doing so, the bin caught overhead utility lines causing the adjacent utility pole to break and fall to the ground.

“This case demonstrates the risks of throwing lithium-ion batteries away in the regular trash or recycling,” Deputy District Attorney Christopher Judge said. “These fires are incredibly dangerous to the safety of the garbage truck drivers and first responders who must then act quickly to deal with the fire.”

iDiskk, LLC dismantles, recycles, and disposes of consumer computer electronics that are returned through Amazon, some of which contain lithium-ion batteries. On September 22, October 6, and October 13, 2021, fires occurred in garbage truck containers after the garbage trucks made residential pickups at iDiskk, LLC’s Campbell address. The cause of the fires was determined to be dozens of lithium-ion batteries that were thrown away in the regular recycling, were crushed, and had caught fire.

The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office began investigating iDiskk, LLC after the Campbell Police Department reported a garbage truck fire in late-2021.

In addition to paying civil penalties, iDiskk, LLC, Zou, and Zhang agreed to be bound by a permanent injunction never to improperly dispose of hazardous waste again. They also cooperated with the investigation and took steps to improve their compliance with the environmental protection laws brought to their attention by prosecutors.

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