Bay Area Waste Company Liable for Over 100 Stormwater Violations
SAN FRANCISCO, California, September 4, 2008 (ENS) – One of the largest providers of waste management services in the San Francisco Bay area is facing hefty financial penalties from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, after being found liable for over 100 stormwater violations of the Clean Water Act.
EPA inspectors found evidence that California Waste Solutions violated its permit and discharged waste and other pollutants into nearby waterways in three locations for nearly five years.
“The EPA requires companies to take simple, basic steps to prevent pollution,” said Alexis Strauss, Water Division Director for EPA’s Pacific Southwest region, announcing the company’s liability on Wednesday.
“We expect a company responsible for large municipal contracts in the Bay to protect San Francisco Bay, and comply with federal and state pollution requirements,” she said.
Storm drain surrounded by litter at California Waste
Solutions’ San Jose facility (Photo courtesy
California Waste Solutions provides waste management services for large portions of Oakland and San Jose.
At the San Jose facility, at least 35 rainfall incidents caused surface water runoff to discharge litter, zinc, recyclables, and other pollutants into Coyote Creek, a tributary of the San Francisco Bay.
At two California Waste Solutions Oakland facilities, at least 74 rainfall incidents caused surface water runoff to discharge litter and debris into the San Francisco Bay’s Oakland waterfront.
The Oakland shoreline and Coyote Creek are home to Endangered Species Act-listed species. Coyote Creek provides critical habitat for California Central Coast Steelhead trout.
Stormwater is a national priority for the EPA, said Strauss. Stormwater runoff from urban areas can include a variety of pollutants, such as sediment, bacteria, organic nutrients, hydrocarbons, metals, oil and grease. Discharges of these pollutants can harm the environment and public health.
The Clean Water Act requires waste management companies to have controls in place to prevent pollutants from being discharged with stormwater into nearby waterways.
The companies must have a stormwater pollution prevention plans in place that set guidelines and best management practices to follow, to prevent runoff from being contaminated by pollutants.
The amounts that the EPA will levy against the company in fines have not yet been made public.