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EDC & CA Sportfishing Protection Alliance Settle Case Against Salvage Yard Protecting Salinas River

metalsPaso Robles, CA – California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (“CSPA”) and the Environmental Defense Center (“EDC”) reached a final settlement with A-1 Metals & Auto Salvage to eliminate polluted storm water run-off from its Paso Robles facility. The settlement resolves CSPA and EDC’s case alleging violations of the Clean Water Act for the facility’s discharges of harmful levels of pollutants such as copper, iron, and lead into the Salinas River, home to numerous endangered species and important for human health and recreation.

Under the settlement, A1-Metals has agreed to eliminate all storm water discharges from its facility, undertake significant cleanup efforts, and increase its monitoring for pollutants. In addition, A-1 Metals will contribute $25,000 to the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment to be used for future improvements of water quality in the Salinas River and/or Monterey Bay.

Storm water pollution occurs when rain water comes into contact with pollutants on the ground and on various pieces of equipment and washes into water bodies. It is among the top sources of water contamination, with high levels of pollutants running into our waterways from industrial facilities that have failed to implement proper prevention mechanisms. This threatens the safety of water bodies for human use and recreation, and wildlife. Many of the pollutants that salvage yards discharge are known to cause cancer or birth defects at certain concentrations and can be acutely toxic to fish and bird species.

“We are thrilled that the outcome of this case involves restoration of the Salinas River watershed, and that the facility has agreed to eliminate 100% of its storm water runoff,” stated Maggie Hall, staff attorney at EDC. “This agreement will greatly benefit the health and recreation of central coast communities as well as the species who call the Salinas River home.”

In December 2014, CSPA and EDC filed a lawsuit against A-1 Metals alleging violations of the facility’s General Industrial Storm Water Permit. The A-1 Metals facility is used to receive, store, handle, dismantle and recycle decommissioned vehicles, equipment and automotive parts. CSPA and EDC’s case sought to address storm water that would come into contact with the pollutants involved in such processes and result in harmful discharges into the River.

Bill Jennings, Executive Director for CSPA stated, “This is a significant step for the local watershed and the species that rely on it.”

The A1-Metals auto-dismantling and salvage yard is located in an environmentally-important area near the Salinas River, which flows into the Monterey Bay. The River runs 170 miles from the mountains in San Luis Obispo County north to Monterey Bay. The watershed encompasses over 4,500 square miles, and serves central coast cities and a highly-productive agricultural valley. The River supports a number of endangered species including the Southern California Steelhead, Red-legged Frog, Tiger Salamander, California Condor, and the San Joaquin Kit Fox. The River and surrounding areas are also popular for kayaking, hiking, cycling, and other recreation.

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The California Sportfishing Protection Alliance is a 501(c)(3) non-profit public benefit conservation and research organization established in 1983 for the purpose of conserving, restoring, and enhancing the state’s water quality, wildlife and fishery resources and their aquatic ecosystems and associated riparian habitats. Learn more about CSPA at www.calsport.org

The Environmental Defense Center, a non-profit law firm, protects and enhances the local environment through education, advocacy, and legal action and works primarily within Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo counties. Since 1977, EDC has empowered community based organizations to advance environmental protection. Program areas include protecting coast and ocean resources, open spaces and wildlife, and human and environmental health. Learn more about EDC at www.EnvironmentalDefenseCenter.org

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