Environmental Non-Profits Allege Scrap Metal Recycler is Contributing to Tampa Bay Pollution

Trademark Metals Recycling, LLC, a scrap metal recycler, received a lawsuit for discharging polluted stormwater from recycling yards into Florida bays. The lawsuit claims they are violating the Clean Water Act and a Florida’s Multi-Sector Generic Permit.

The lawsuit was filed by Suncoast Waterkeeper, Tampa Bay Waterkeeper, and Our Children’s Earth Foundation (OCE). They are all non-profit environmental groups represented in the case by Justin Bloom. They claim that stormwater in Florida is polluted by industrial operations like Trademark Metals Recycling and travels to the Sarasota and Tampa Bays.

“Stormwater pollution accounts for the majority of the pollution entering the Sarasota Bay and Tampa Bay environment each year,” the complaint says. “Stormwater pollution poses a health risk to humans, harms marine life, closes beaches, contaminates the ocean, and harms the environment. These contaminated stormwater discharges can and must be controlled for the Sarasota Bay and Tampa Bay ecosystems to regain their health.”

The plaintiffs claimed the Tampa and Sarasota Bay areas are ecologically sensitive and have economic and recreational significance. The complaint says fish and bird species are being exposed to toxic substances, as well as people who are using the areas for wildlife observation and study.

Trademark Metals Recycling is allegedly not using the best treatment technologies to take pollutants out of their stormwater discharge. The complaint also says they do not have a stormwater pollution prevention plan, including monitoring, reporting, or site evaluations.

The plaintiffs request that in addition to restoring their water quality, Trademark Metals Recycling pays civil penalties of up to $37,500 for each day of violations before November 2, 2015 and $55,800 for each day of violations after that date.

They also claim the plaintiff should be enjoined from discharging polluted stormwater from their facilities in the area unless it is authorized by Florida’s Multi-Sector Generic Permit for Stormwater Discharge Associated with Industrial Activity (MSGP). They ask that the company be stopped from violating requirements of the MSGP and implement stronger control measures for pollution, including documenting and reporting the quality of their stormwater discharge.