CSPA settles lawsuit against Syar Industries for illegal pollution of Napa River and Suisun Bay
by Bill Jennings, CSPA Executive Director
March 7, 2010 -- CSPA has settled a Clean Water Act lawsuit against Syar Industries Inc. regarding serious violations of the California General Industrial Stormwater Permit. Syar Industries operates a quarry, asphalt mixing, ready-mix concrete and stone crushing facility in Vallejo, California. Stormwater runoff discharges through at least six outfalls to either Blue Rock Springs Creek or Sulphur Springs Creek. Sulphur Springs Creek flows into Lake Herman and thence into Suisun Bay. Blue Rock Springs Creek flows into Lake Chabot and thence into the Napa River.
A 60-day notice letter of intent to sue was sent in May 2009 and a lawsuit was filed in federal court on October 2009. The actions alleged that Syar Industries, Inc. illegally discharged excessive concentrations of iron, aluminum, copper, lead, chemical oxygen demand, total suspended solids, electrical conductivity, nitrates and other pollutants in violation of their stormwater permit and the Clean Water Act. Syar Industries also failed to develop, implement and update: 1) Best Available and Best Conventional Treatment Technologies; 2) an adequate Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP); and 3) an adequate monitoring and reporting plan. It also accused the operators of falsely certifying compliance in their annual reports.
The Settlement Agreement has been submitted to the court as an enforceable Consent Decree and to the U.S. Department of Justice for review. It obligates Syar Industries to: 1) comply fully with the applicable requirements of the General Permit and Clean Water Act; 2) implement a suite of Best Management and Housekeeping Practices; 3) develop and implement a number of structural improvements; 4) conduct more frequent, comprehensive monitoring during rain events, and 5) prepare an adequate SWPPP. The agreement incorporates “Meet & Confer” provisions that allow CSPA to return to court for enforcement if pollutant benchmarks continue to be exceeded and the parties cannot agree on additional measures to be implemented.
As mitigation for past violations, Syar Industries agreed to send $45,000 to the Rose Foundation for a Better Environment to fund environmental projects that will improve water quality. They also agreed to reimburse CSPA's costs of bringing suit plus funds to oversee implementation of the agreement.
Lozeau/Drury LLP and the Law Offices of Andrew Packard represented CSPA in this matter.
CSPA's settlement agreement