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CSPA Advisory August 20, 2010

CSPA settles lawsuit against Baldwin Contracting Company and BCJ Sand and Rock for illegal pollution of Cottonwood Creek

By Bill Jennings, CSPA Executive Director
August 20, 2010 -- CSPA settled a Clean Water Act lawsuit against Baldwin Contracting Company, Inc., and BCJ Sand and Rock, Inc., regarding serious violations of the California General Industrial Stormwater Permit. Baldwin Contracting and BCJ Sand and Rock operate a 60-acre sand and gravel mining and processing facility near Oroville, California. The facility discharges pollutants to Sawmill Ravine Creek, which empties into Dry Creek, a tributary of Cottonwood Creek, and thence Butte Creek and ultimately the Sacramento River and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

A 60-day notice letter of intent to sue was sent in February 2010 and a lawsuit was filed in federal court on 28 June 2010. The actions alleged that the facility illegally discharged excessive concentrations of pollutants in violation of their stormwater permit and the Clean Water Act. Baldwin Contracting and BCJ Sand and Rock 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.

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 Baldwin Contracting and BCJ Sand and Rock 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, Baldwin Contracting and BCJ Sand and Rock agreed to send $30,000 to the Rose Foundation for Communities and the 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.

The Law Offices of Andrew Packard and Jackson & Tuerck represented CSPA in this matter.

Read the notice.