Law Street Media

Non-Profits Sue New York Companies Discharging Polluted Water

A scientist examining toxic waste in water.

Scientist examining toxic water samples

Plaintiffs Hackensack Riverkeeper, Inc and New City Neighborhood Association, Inc filed suit Tuesday against Seneca Meadows, Inc., Waste Connections US Inc., Waste Connections of New York, Inc., and West Nyack Transfer Station in the Southern District of New York. The suit comes following claims that the companies illegally discharged water from their facilities that was in violation of both the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (Clean Water Act) and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation SPDES Multi-Sector General Permit for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Industrial Activity (General Permit).

The plaintiffs are both non-profit corporations whose efforts are directed towards the protection and preservation of their communities. The complaint details that the defendants’ scrap metal processing and recycling facilities discharge an amount of polluted stormwater that, through runoff, compromises the water quality of the receiving waters in the area.

The various violations due to the polluted stormwater runoff include “inadequate pollution control measures, an inadequate stormwater pollution prevention plan, and the release of pollutants that cause or contribute to violations of water quality standards in receiving waters.” The polluted water is allegedly a main contributor to the ongoing stormwater pollution issue in New York.

The Clean Water Act effectively “prohibits the discharge of any pollutant into the waters of the United States, unless such discharge is in compliance with various enumerated sections of the Act.” Any authorized discharges must be approved by a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit, which is the aforementioned General Permit for the state of New York.

Although the defendants have coverage of their facilities under the General Permit, the stormwater they were and are discharging from their facility has, “high pollutant levels that exceed applicable benchmarks and are evidence of ongoing violations of the effluent limitations set forth in the General Permit.”

The plaintiffs are charging the defendants with failure to develop and implement effective treatment measures/plans, failure to comply with requirements, failure to take corrective action, and violation of water quality standards. These charges have led them to seek declarations of the defendant’s misconduct, injunctions preventing them from engaging in future misconduct, an order demanding future compliance with the Clean Water Act and General Permit, as well as civil penalties and litigation costs.The plaintiffs are represented by Super Law Group, LLC.

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