NOVEMBER 2008

Waste company found liable for environmental violations

One of the largest providers of waste management services in the Bay area is facing penalties from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), after being been found liable for numerous violations of the Clean Water Act. The company, California Waste Solutions, provides waste management services for large portions of Oakland and San Jose.

EPA inspectors found evidence California Waste Solutions (CWS) violated its permit and discharged waste and other pollutants into nearby waterways in three locations for nearly five years.

“The EPA requires companies to take simple, basic steps to prevent pollution,” said Alexis Strauss, Water Division director for EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “We expect a company responsible for large municipal contracts in the Bay to protect San Francisco Bay, and comply with federal and state pollution requirements.”

At the San Jose facility, at least 35 rainfall incidents caused surface water runoff to discharge litter, zinc, recyclables, and other pollutants into Coyote creek – a tributary to the San Francisco Bay.

At 2 CWS Oakland facilities, at least 74 rainfall incidents caused surface water runoff to discharge litter and debris into the San Francisco Bay’s Oakland waterfront.

The Oakland Shoreline and Coyote Creek are home to Endangered Species Act-listed species. Coyote Creek provides critical habitat for California Central Coast Steelhead trout.

The Clean Water Act requires waste management companies to have controls in place to prevent pollutants from being discharged with storm water into nearby waterways. They must have a storm water pollution prevention plan that sets guidelines and best management practices to follow, to prevent runoff from being contaminated by pollutants.