Metech hit with stormwater lawsuit in California

Metech hit with stormwater lawsuit in California

By Dan Leif, E-Scrap News

Aug. 15, 2014

A national e-scrap processing and metals refining firm that often notes its environmental stewardship credentials in marketing has been sued by a California nonprofit group for alleged water pollution violations.

Metech Recycling, Inc. and Metech International LLC were named in a civil suit filed Aug. 1 by the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA), a Woodland, California-based organization that works on local water quality issues.

The lawsuit focuses on Metech's Gilroy, California facility and alleges "defendants discharge pollutant-contaminated stormwater from the facility" into several nearby waterways that flow into the Pacific Ocean's Monterey Bay. It also alleges the firm has failed to implement an adequate stormwater pollution prevention plan at the Gilroy facility and that the operation "lacks essential structural controls such as grading, berming and roofing" that would prevent rain and stormwater from coming into contact with contaminants.

The suit claims the company's actions are in violation of several California water-quality statutes as well as the federal Clean Water Act, and it asks for civil penalties of $37,500 per day per violation going back to Jan. 12, 2009.

Metech's California-based quality and security manager, Joseph Fulton, is also named in the suit.

Fulton and other Metech representatives did not respond to requests for comments. Likewise, CSPA did not respond to requests for comments, and the lawyer representing CSPA, Andrew L. Packard, was not available to comment on the case.

In addition to the California facility, Metech operates e-scrap processing facilities in Colorado, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Utah. According to Metech's website, all five facilities are certified to the e-Stewards environmental, health and safety standard as as well the ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 14001:2004 standards.

As a refiner, the firm does a number of metal processing tasks, and handles far more than just e-scrap, including dental and jewelry scrap.

CSPA frequently files lawsuits against corporate entities over pollution concerns. In early July, the organization filed a similar stormwater-violation lawsuit against Northern Waste & Recycling of Paradise, California.

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