Washington Conservation Group Sues Liquid Storage Company for Polluting Gray Harbor

Last Friday, the conservation group Twin Harbors Waterkeeper filed a complaint in the Western District of Washington against BWC Terminals, LLC for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act after they purportedly illegally discharged pollutants into the waters of Gray Harbor and beyond.

The complaint was brought, according to the plaintiffs, because members of Twin Harbors “are reasonably concerned about the effects of discharges of pollutants on water quality and aquatic species and wildlife that Twin Harbors’ members observe, study, use, and enjoy.” The plaintiffs alleged that BWC “failed to comply with numerous requirements of its NPDES permit including completing corrective actions, compliance with water quality standards, monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements” which has prevented Twin Harbors from properly informing their members about the state of Gray Harbor. BWC is said to exceed the limits of pollutant discharge as stated in their NPDES permit.

In 2020, the complaint explained, BWC was ordered to take Level Two Corrective Actions to readjust the level of pollutants they were expelling into the waters of Washington State, but failed to do so which harmed the environment and made them liable for further actions to be taken against them. Twin Harbors believes that BWC’s violations of their NPDES Permit and the Clean Water Act “are ongoing in that they are currently occurring or are likely to reoccur at least intermittently in the future.” Twin Harbors is hoping to stop these violations with this lawsuit, and to restore the waters of Gray Harbor to a more natural and safer state.

Twin Harbors Waterkeeper is seeking declaratory judgment that BWC violated the NPDES Permit and the CWA, injunctive relief enjoining BWC from continuing to operate in this illegal manner, allowing Twin Harbors to assist BWC in adjusting their plans to be more environmentally friendly, civil penalties of $59,973 per day of violation for each violation committed by BWC, attorney’s fees and costs, and other relief.

The plaintiff is represented by Smith & Lowney, PLLC