On 21 March 2011, CSPA settled a Clean Water Act lawsuit against Northstate Recycling, Inc. regarding serious violations of the California General Industrial Stormwater Permit. Northstate Recycling operates a 13-acre scrap recycling facility in Redding California that discharges polluted stormwater to the city storm drain system and thence to Clear Creek, which flows into the Sacramento River.
A 60-day notice letter of intent to sue was sent on 29 April 2010 and a lawsuit was filed in federal court 1 July 2010. The lawsuit alleged that the facility illegally discharged excessive concentrations of zinc, iron, aluminum, lead, copper, total suspended solids, specific conductivity, oil & grease and other pollutants in violation of their stormwater permit and the Clean Water Act. Northstate Recycling also failed to develop, implement and update: 1) Best Available and Best Conventional Treatment Technologies; 2) an adequate Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP); and 3) an adequate monitoring and reporting plan. It also accused the operators of falsely certifying compliance in their annual reports.
The Settlement Agreement has been submitted to the court as an enforceable Consent Decree and to the U.S. Department of Justice for review. It obligates Northstate Recycling to: 1) comply fully with the applicable requirements of the General Permit and Clean Water Act; 2) implement a suite of Best Management and Housekeeping Practices; 3) develop and implement a number of structural improvements; 4) conduct more frequent, comprehensive monitoring during rain events, and 5) prepare an adequate SWPPP. The agreement incorporates “Meet & Confer” provisions that allow CSPA to return to court for enforcement if pollutant benchmarks continue to be exceeded and the parties cannot agree on additional measures to be implemented.
As mitigation for past violations, Northstate Recycling agreed to send $65,000 to the Rose Foundation for a Better Environment to fund environmental projects that will improve water quality. They also agreed to reimburse CSPA’s costs of bringing suit plus funds to oversee implementation of the agreement.
Jackson & Tuerck and the Law Offices of Andrew Packard represented CSPA in this matter. Consent Agreement