Los Angeles Waterkeeper Sues Waste Services Co. for Illegally Releasing Stormwater

Los Angeles Waterkeeper filed a complaint on Monday in the Central District of California against American Reclamation, Inc., a dumpster rental and waste services company, and its owner John Gasparian claiming that the company breached its permit and has illegally released pollution into the environment through stormwater. 

The complaint alleged that the company has breached the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, the Clean Water Act (CWA), and California’s National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. Los Angeles Waterkeeper claimed that the pollution from American Reclamation’s facility flows into the Los Angeles River and later into the ocean.  

“Violations of the CWA and the Industrial Stormwater Permit by small industrial sites are recognized as a leading cause of significant, cumulative impacts to the water quality of the Los Angeles River and the Pacific Ocean,” the Los Angeles Waterkeeper said. “The consensus among agencies and water quality specialists is that stormwater pollution accounts for more than half of the total pollution entering the aquatic environment each year.” 

The filing claimed that the facilities’ stormwater discharge contains sediment and heavy metals, specifically, “cadmium, iron, copper, lead, and zinc,” some of which can cause neurological and reproductive health issues both in humans and wildlife. High levels of total suspended soils which are also in stormwater from the facility, reportedly degrade the “optical water quality” causing decreased light which inhibits photosynthesis and altering habitats. Stormwater from American Reclamation could also contain potentially pathogenic bacteria, which depresses oxygen levels in aquatic habitats and creates risks to human health. 

“These pollution discharges can and must be curtailed for the Los Angeles River and the Pacific Ocean to be restored to ecological health,” the plaintiff said. It asked the court to rule that the defendant has violated federal law and permit requirements and require American Reclamation to stop its current pollution, restore the waters it polluted, and pay civil penalties for each day of violations. 

Los Angeles Waterkeeper is represented by Environmental Advocates.