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CSPA settles Melrose Metals pollution suit


by Bill Jennings, CSPA Executive Director

March 4, 2010 -- CSPA has settled a Clean Water Act lawsuit against Melrose Metal Products, Inc. regarding serious violations of the California General Industrial Stormwater Permit (attached).  Melrose Metal Products operates a metal work manufacturing facility in Fremont, California. 

A 60-day notice letter of intent to sue was sent in May 2009 and a lawsuit was filed in federal court on August 2009.  The actions alleged that Melrose Metal Products illegally discharged excessive concentrations of zinc, iron, pH, total suspended solids, EC, nitrate and other pollutants to San Francisco Bay in violation of their stormwater permit and the Clean Water Act.  The Melrose Metal Products 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 Melrose Metal Products 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, Melrose Metal Products agreed to send $20,000 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.

Settlement Agreement