Asphalt Plant Accused Of Discharging Contaminated Stormwater Without Permits

Orange County Coastkeeper claimed in a complaint on Monday that R.J. Noble Company and Carver Properties LLC breached pollution and clean water laws by allowing rainwater, which was contaminated after running through the defendants’ facility, to enter the Santa Ana River which flows to the ocean at Huntington Beach. 

In the complaint, the coastkeeper alleged that the defendants, which run an asphalt plant in Orange, California, are in violation of its storm water permit and the Clean Water Act, and have been in violation since May 2016. The Orange County Coastkeeper noted that stormwater pollution accounts for over half of the pollution entering waters each year, and that the Santa Ana River and neighboring waters are “ecologically sensitive areas” and essential habitats for multiple species. 

The plaintiff alleged that it and its members have been harmed by the actions of the defendants, citing that it has over 1,350 members who live in the area and use the Santa Ana River and Huntington Beach for recreational activities. Further, they live in and own property in homes within the Santa Ana River Watershed. 

Allegedly, the asphalt company has not followed reporting requirements as is required through its stormwater permit. The plaintiff claimed that the defendants are liable for the violations and own the facility. Additionally, the coastkeeper claimed that under the stormwater permit, the defendants should be required to use the best available technology and management practices to limit the contaminated stormwater released from their facility. 

The complaint reported that the owners of the facility acquired a storm water permit in 2015, and that according to that permit the facility is 97 acres. The plaintiff alleged that pollutants are spread through the facility which uses hazardous materials, but the owners have not implemented strategies to address the pollutants or developed a plan as is required under federal law. 

The plaintiff is seeking an order declaring that the defendants have violated the clean water act, enjoining them from discharging pollutants, requiring them to adhere to legal requirements, and pay monetary penalties of $56,460 for each day of violations between November 2015 and December 2020.