California Sportfishing Fishing Alliance Sues Landscaping Company Over Alleged CWA Violations

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The nonprofit California Sportfishing Protection Alliance filed a civil lawsuit Monday against landscaping company DenBeste Yard & Garden Inc. for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act.

The DenBeste facility, located in Sonoma County, California, allegedly discharges pollutant-contaminated stormwater into the Russian River, which empties into the Pacific Ocean, without a permit from the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System , according to the complaint.

The complaint states that under the CWA, it is illegal to discharge pollutants from a point source into any body of water in the country without an NPDES permit, which contains discharge limits, monitoring requirements and reporting, and other provisions to ensure that the discharge does not harm water quality or human health. In California, the state may also issue general industrial stormwater permits.

“The failure on the part of operators of industrial facilities, such as the defendant, to apply for and comply with the general permit is recognized as a significant cause of the continuing decline in the water quality of the receiving waters”, indicates the complaint. “The general consensus among regulators and water quality specialists is that stormwater pollution accounts for more than half of the total pollution that enters the aquatic environment each year.”

While DenBeste previously operated under CWA requirements, its general license expired in November 2015 and the company failed to renew it despite repeated warnings from the CSPA.

The California Sportfishing Protection Alliance seeks to enjoin DenBeste from discharging pollutants from its facility and further violating CWA requirements, along with civil penalties of $59,973 per day per violation after November 2, 2015.

The plaintiff is represented by the law firm of Andrew L. Packard.

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