Central Valley Eden Environmental Defenders File CWA Citizen Suit

On Friday, Central Valley Eden Environmental Defenders, LLC filed a complaint in the Eastern District of California against ACM Machining, Inc., Luis Alfred Balbach and Phillip McWilliams, alleging violations of the Clean Water Act. 

According to the complaint, Central Valley Eden Environmental Defenders is a California environmental membership group with the purpose of the protection, preservation and enhancement of California’s waterways. The plaintiff states that some of its members reside and work in the Lower Sacramento River area. 

The complaint states that ACM Machining, Inc. is a California corporation that fabricates metal parts for the oil, gas and automotive industry at its facility ​​in Rancho Cordova, California. Additionally, the complaint states that Luis Alfred Balbach is the Chief Executive Officer for ACM Machining, and Phillip McWilliams is the Legally Responsible Person for ACM Machining’s facility according to documents filed with the Regional Water Board. 

The complaint alleges that ACM Machining stores industrial materials outdoors that can be exposed to stormwater, eroded by wind and otherwise contaminate the surrounding watershed. 

The plaintiff states that it conducted an investigation, including a review of the Facility’s Notice of Intent to Comply with the Terms of the Industrial General Permit, Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan, aerial photography, Federal, State and local regulatory agency mapping tools and discovered that stormwater from the defendant’s facility is collected and discharged through two distinct drainage areas that eventually flow into the Lower Sacramento River. 

The plaintiff alleges that the storm water collected and discharged from the defendant’s facility collects suspended sediment, dirt, metals and other pollutants from the areas where industrial material is stored outdoors. Further, the plaintiff argues that the pollutants contained in the stormwater that eventually flows to the Lower Sacramento River adversely impacts the aesthetic and recreational interest of the plaintiff’s members located in the Lower Sacramento River area. 

Further, the plaintiff argues that the defendant’s facility has insufficient structural water control measures and inadequate management practices to prevent the contamination of the discharged storm water. The plaintiff alleges that the insufficient structure and inadequate management practices has caused the defendant to violate its Industrial General Permit and the Clean Water Act. 

The complaint states that on September 10, 2021, the plaintiff provided a notice of ACM Machining’s violations of the Clean Water Act to the defendants, the administrator of the EPA, the regional administrator for the EPA and the Executive Director of the State Water Resources Control Board as required under the Act. 

Since 60 days have passed since the notice was provided the plaintiff filed the present suit claiming the defendants failed to prepare, implement, review and update an adequate Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan, failed develop and implement an adequate monitoring and reporting program, submitted false annual reports to the regional water board, failed to implement the best available treatment technologies, discharged contaminated stormwater and violated other provisions of the Clean Water Act. The plaintiff seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, civil penalties of $56,460.00 per day/per violation, attorney’s fees and costs. The plaintiff is represented by its in-house counsel.