Environmental Advocacy Group Sues Manufacturer for Polluting Water

Last Friday in the Middle District of Florida, plaintiff Suncoast Waterkeeper (SCWK) filed suit against concrete manufacturer Atlantic TNG, LLC (Atlantic). The complaint filed against Atlantic claims that the concrete manufacturer violated the Clean Water Act as well as the State of Florida’s Multi-Sector Generic Permit for Stormwater Discharge Associated with Industrial Activity (MSGP) by discharging “polluted stormwater from its manufacturing facility” in Sarasota, Florida.

The plaintiff, Suncoast Waterkeeper, is a non-profit public benefit corporation whose mission is to both protect and restore the waterways in Florida. Discharge from industrial activity is prohibited in Florida, the complaint explained, but exceptions do exist, as “industrial dischargers must obtain coverage under and comply with the terms of the MSGP.” However, the defendants have allegedly failed to meet both the substantive and procedural requirements to fall under this exception, warranting a violation of the MSGP. Since the Clean Water Act prohibits discharge not authorized by an NPDES permit (a category which the MSGP falls under) the defendant’s actions also infringe on the Clean Water Act, according to court documents.

The complaint claimed that following an event of significant rainfall, stormwater is polluted from industrial operations and eventually flows into the Sarasota Bay area. The plaintiffs contend that the polluted water “poses a health risk to humans, harms marine life, closes beaches, contaminates the ocean, and harms the environment.” These effects that have been evident in the Sarasota Bay area are said to be compromising the area’s ecosystem. Specifically, the polluted water contains high concentrations of total suspended solids, which degrade water quality, alter competitivity in the food chain, and impact species richness and diversity.

The complaint charges Atlantic with violations of the MSGP and the Clean Water Act, specifically highlighting their failures to implement the best available technologies, to maintain storm pollution prevention plans, to have adequate site compliance evaluations, and to develop and implement valid monitoring and reporting programs. SCWK is seeking declarations that the defendant has violated the aforementioned laws, that they should be enjoined from engaging in future misconduct, that they should implement more comprehensive pollution prevention measures, and that they should pay fines and restore the damages they have caused.

The plaintiffs are represented by Justin Bloom.