This month, Associated Ready Mixed Concrete (Associated) and A&A Ready Mixed Concrete (A&A) agreed to address water quality violations and comply with clean water regulations, following legal action from Orange County Coastkeeper and Los Angeles Waterkeeper. As a result of the case, the companies committed to changing practices to prevent further pollution and the District Court approved a $300,000 settlement, including funds to support local environmental restoration.
“We’re proud of the leaders at Associated and A&A for cleaning up their act,” says 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.”
In 2015 and 2016, Coastkeeper and LA Waterkeeper documented evidence of illegal pollution at multiple Associated and A&A facilities in Orange and Los Angeles counties in the communities of Fountain Valley, Foothill Ranch and Gardena. Their investigations revealed that the company’s industrial activities at each site released polluted stormwater into local storm drains, which flowed into creeks and rivers that empty into Newport Bay, Huntington Beach and the Los Angeles – Long Beach Harbor.
“Holding industrial facilities accountable for managing stormwater is especially important, as stormwater runoff is one of the biggest contributors of pollution entering our waters,” says LA Waterkeeper Executive Director Bruce Reznik. “Each time it rains, debris and contaminants flow into our inland and coastal waters, often without treatment.”
Associated’s and A&A’s practices violated the Clean Water Act, a federal law establishing standards for water pollution nationwide. The facilities also failed to meet the mandates of their industrial stormwater permit, which requires facilities to implement practices to prevent pollution. The permit also requires regular evaluation of stormwater samples to determine if updates are needed to meet water quality standards.
In March 2017, Coastkeeper and LA Waterkeeper issued 60-day notice letters alerting Associated and A&A of their violations. In April, they began a civil suit to hold the industrial facilities accountable to federal laws governing their industrial worksites in both counties. The court entered a settlement on Nov. 17. Moving forward, Associated and A&A will collaborate with Coastkeeper and LA Waterkeeper to implement best management practices at all of their facilities to capture stormwater and prevent pollutants from flowing into local waters.
Supplemental Environmental Project funds from this case will benefit two third-party, nonprofit organizations to restore local environments and wildlife impacted by industrial pollution. The Wetland and Wildlife Care Center in Orange County will receive funds to enhance outdoor aviaries. The organization provides rehabilitation for sick, injured, or orphaned native birds near Huntington Beach and the Bolsa Chica Wetlands. The Friends of the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in Los Angeles will receive support for education programs and conservation of Southern California marine life.
This article was released by Orange County Coastkeeper.