Environmental Group Sues Over Water Pollution in Seattle Area

Environmental group Puget Soundkeeper Alliance filed a complaint on Thursday in the Western District of Washington against Pacific Pile & Marine LP (PPM) for purported Clean Water Act violations for discharging pollutants from its facility into navigable waters in the Seattle, Washington, area.

According to the complaint, Puget Soundkeeper Alliance is non-profit “dedicated to protecting and preserving the environment of Washington State, especially the quality of its waters.” The plaintiff is a membership organization and allegedly has at least one member who is harmed by the defendant’s conduct.

At issue in the lawsuit is the alleged discharge of pollution into waters near Seattle that came from the defendant’s storage and transloading facility. PPM’s facility is used for marine equipment and materials for construction activities, as noted in the complaint. PPM allegedly discharged pollutants into water in violation of the terms of its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. Therefore, the plaintiff claims that PPM violated the Clean Water Act.

Specifically, Puget Soundkeeper Alliance avers that PPM discharged untreated stormwater and pollutants into the Duwamish Waterway which then flows to the Puget Sound. PPM also discharged stormwater with pollutants at levels higher than the permitted benchmarks, according to the complaint.

As a result, PPM purportedly failed to comply with various requirements of its NPDES permit, including benchmark limitations, effluent limits, Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan, and illegal and unpermitted discharges, among other things. PPM allegedly also failed to record and report information about its discharges, violations and pollution controls.

Puget Soundkeeper Alliance asserts that it and its members are “concerned about the effects of discharges of pollutants, including stormwater from PPM’s facility, on water quality and aquatic species and wildlife” as well as concerns about the effects on human health. The plaintiff also claims that the discharge of pollutants reduces people’s enjoyment of the nearby area and waterways, such as the Duwamish Waterway and the Puget Sound. Pudget Soundkeeper Alliance contends that its “recreational, economic, aesthetic and/or health interests” are negatively affected by the defendant’s conduct.

Pacific Pile & Marine is accused of violating its NPDES permit, the administrative order and the Clean Water Act.

The plaintiff seeks declaratory judgment and for the court to enjoin the defendant from operating the facility in a way that leads to further violations and to order the defendant to implement a plan to comply with the requirements. Puget Soundkeeper Alliance also seeks for PPM to take action to remediate the environmental harm, as well as, civil penalties, an award for costs and fees, and other relief.

Puget Soundkeeper Alliance is represented by Smith & Lowney, PLLC.