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CA Concrete Firms Settle Over Clean Water Complaint

Monday, December 18, 2017

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Two California concrete firms have agreed to pay $300,000 in a settlement related to alleged violations of the Clean Water Act after two environmental groups sued earlier this year.

Associated Ready Mixed Concrete Inc. and A&A Ready Mixed Concrete Inc., both of which operate facilities in the greater Los Angeles area, agreed to bankroll changes to their storm water management procedures and pay for monitoring of runoff in order to ensure they are not polluting nearby waterways. They will also donate a total of $55,000 to two environmental education organizations, the Wetland and Wildlife Care Center, in Orange County, and the Cabrillo Marine Museum, in Los Angeles.

Foothill Ranch facility
© 2017 Google

The suit alleged Clean Water Act violations at four facilities, including one in Foothill Ranch.

As part of the settlements, the two companies do not admit wrongdoing.

In the wake of the complaint, the companies are reportedly changing their practices to incorporate stormwater into the concrete production process.

“We’re proud of the leaders at Associated and A&A for cleaning up their act,” said Colin Kelly, senior staff attorney at Coastkeeper. “Instead of continuing to pollute our waters, the concrete mixing facilities are capturing stormwater and using it to make concrete, thereby keeping our waters safe for everyone.”

Storm Water Concerns

The suit, brought by environmental watchdogs Orange County Coastkeeper and Los Angeles Waterkeeper, alleged that the two companies failed to properly monitor and mitigate pollution issuing from four facilities in Foothill Ranch, Fountain Valley and Gardena.

The two groups specifically complained that pollutants including aluminum- and iron-contaminated storm water, resulting in runoff that they say exceeded Clean Water Act standards for pH, nitrate plus nitrate as nitrogen, and total suspended solids. They also alleged that non-storm water pollution stemmed from concrete spills at the sites, as well as activities including truck-washing.

The suit alleged that the companies violated both the Clean Water Act and their California Storm Water Permits by failing to take steps to manage the pollutants entering the watershed. Some of the plants in question lie in the Santa Ana River Basin, and runoff from those sites is conveyed to the Huntington Beach Wetlands, a site that includes habitat for endangered species as well as recreation.

Associated and A&A will work with the two environmental groups through 2022 to ensure that pollutants are not entering the watershed from the facilities in question.

   

Tagged categories: Clean Water Act; concrete; Environmental Protection; Lawsuits

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