CSPA settles lawsuit against West Sacramento recycling facility for illegal pollution

On 19 July 2011, CSPA settled a Clean Water Act lawsuit against International Paper Company’s West Sacramento recycling facility regarding serious violations of the California General Industrial Stormwater Permit.  The facility is a 5-acre paper and scrap materials recycling operation that discharges polluted stormwater to the Eastern Canal of the Sacramento River and Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta.

A 60-day notice letter of intent to sue under the Clean Water Act was sent on 25 February 2011 and a lawsuit was filed in federal court on 27 April 2011.  The lawsuit alleged that the facility illegally discharged excessive concentrations of numerous pollutants in violation of their stormwater permit and the Clean Water Act.  International Paper 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 International Paper 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, International Paper agreed to send $50,000 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.

The Law Offices of Andrew Packard and Jackson & Tuerck represented CSPA in this matter.  Consent Agreement

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