Manufacturing Facility Targeted for Storm Water Lawsuit, Seeking Millions in Fines and Claiming Violations of the Clean Water Act
NES helped a small manufacturing facility understand a 100-page list of water lawsuit allegations, while bringing their Storm Water Pollution Prevention Program back into compliance. With the help of NES, they were able to significantly reduce their proposed legal fines which ranged in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Company Size: 50-100
Location: Scramento, California
NES sat down with the company’s environmental and legal team to review the lawsuit letter and to provide crucial background on what was being alleged and how they can build an effective defense. We also conducted a facility inspection to assess permit compliance and to provide recommendations for corrective actions and Best Management Practices (BMP). Our team has decades of combined experience in environmental regulations, permitting, and interacting with the State and Regional Water Boards.
This brings a unique perspective to storm water compliance consulting since we understand how regulators enforce the permit and how sites are being targeted for lawsuits. As mentioned earlier, this facility was targeted because they missed a single reporting deadline. With access to historical records and sample data, the law firm made assumptions and allegations that their entire SWPPP program was insufficient.
They alleged the facility was not conducting required inspections, they were not training their employees on storm water pollution prevention, they were not implementing effective BMPs, and that they were falsifying reports to the Water Board which could result in jail time.
The NES Solution
NES helped to navigate through the allegations and identify which were correct, based on deadlines, and which were completely subjective.
With the help of their legal counsel and NES, the facility was able to reduce their legal fines substantially and manage the ongoing oversight imposed on them by the law firm. In addition to fines, the environmental group driving the lawsuit is able to inspect the facility over the next 3 years, review all documents and reports, collect fees for monitoring, and assess additional fines if future permit violations are identified.
NES has provided over 30 years of EH&S support to utility clients in California and the partnerships continue. We provide both full-time and part-time safety staff to various utility providers across the state as well as project-based support.
NES’ storm water consulting programs are designed to help facilities comply with the Industrial General Permit and avoid costly enforcement and lawsuits. Our goal is the create experts onsite through routine training, compliance inspections, and outreach. We understand that storm water is not our clients’ main business, which is why our team provides ongoing technical support and quality assurance. Let our team help you build a SWPPP program from the ground up or bring your current program into compliance. For more information on NES’ storm water consulting programs, please contact our team at Stormwater@NES-EHS.com.