Environmental Orgs Accuse Trucking Company of Not Reporting Stormwater Discharges

California environmental organizations, including the California Coastkeeper and The Otter Project, filed a complaint in the Northern District of California on Friday against Hildebrand & Sons Trucking Inc. alleging that the company breached the Federal Water Pollution Control Act. The plaintiffs claimed that the trucking facility, and other industrial operations, allow “hundreds of millions of gallons of polluted rainwater” to enter storm drains and waterways, reportedly causing over half of the pollution to rivers, marines, and other surface waters which are sensitive. 

The eight-acre facility operated by the defendant reportedly mainly consists of area exposed to rainwater. The space is used for repairing, maintaining, and fueling trucks and trailers. 

The organizations claimed that the stormwater coming from the defendant’s facility in Royal Oaks, Calif., is causing discharges of pollutants, and harming the interests of their members. Hildebrand & Sons Trucking was accused of failing to comply with the Clean Water Act (CWA). 

Purportedly, stormwater releases from industrial facilities have “drastically diminished once abundant and varied fisheries,” and are harming the habitats for fish, birds, and other species. Stormwater permits, issued under the CWA, only allow stormwater releases with certain levels of pollutants, give monitoring and reporting requirements, and outlaw discharges of materials, which are not stormwater. Hildebrand & Sons Trucking has reportedly not implemented a stormwater pollutant prevention plan or a monitoring plan and has not reported its discharges as required by the CWA. 

The plaintiffs claimed that the industrial activities at the facility are causing oil, and other fluids to leak and seep into the ground on and off the facility. Friday’s complaint cited that the drain areas at the facility flow to the Pajaro River, which feeds into the storm drain system of Monterey County and later into the Monterey Bay. 

The plaintiffs, including California Coastkeeper Inc., which does business as the California Coastkeeper Alliance, and The Otter Project, Inc, which also filed on behalf of its program the Monterey Costkeeper, are represented by Aqua Terra Aeris Law Group and attorneys for the California Coastkeeper Alliance