"On paper, California's rules on the transport and disposal of hazardous waste are among the nation's strictest. But there are huge holes in the system."
"MECCA, Calif. -- Year after year the trucks rolled in, dumping loads of sewage sludge and contaminated dirt at a soil-recycling plant in this tiny desert community.
Thousands of deliveries were dutifully recorded in a state database. Anyone who checked it would have seen that the plant had no state permit to accept hazardous waste.
Yet the dumping went on for seven years — because state regulators either did not look at their own records or did not act on the information. The waste piles grew, rising 40 feet above the Coachella Valley floor. The stench worsened too."