The owner of the Standard Hotel downtown pleaded guilty Tuesday to negligent discharge of pollutants more than a year after an employee used a rooftop drain to dump pool chemicals that caused several people in a nearby subway station to become ill, according to a U.S. Attorney's Office announcement.
The plea is part of an agreement with the office that will have Standard operator HotelsAB pay a fine of $200,000 — the maximum for such a crime — and an additional $150,000 “community service payment.”
The dumping happened Jan. 18, 2009 when chlorine and muriatic acid, apparently used for the hotel's rooftop pool, went down the drain, mixed, and caused a subsequent gas cloud to seep into the subway station at West Seventh and South Figueroa. Several people, including a sheriff's deputy, got sick. The incident prompted the closure of West Sixth and Flower streets as the gas escaped from nearby storm drains.
The $150,000 will go to the National Fish and Wildlife Fund. The hotel has also agreed to pay the Los Angeles County Fire Department Health Hazardous Materials Division and the City of Los Angeles Watershed Protection Division $20,283.56 to cover their response costs.