Columbia Riverkeeper Sues Mercury Plastics
by Wilson Fay
On Thursday, Columbia Riverkeeper filed a complaint against Mercury Plastics, Inc. in the Western District of Washington under the Clean Water Act.
Columbia Riverkeeper, is a non-profit corporation organized in Washington with a mission "to restore and protect the water quality of the Columbia River and all life connected to it, from the headwaters to the Pacific Ocean." The Columbia Riverkeeper states it has over 16,000 members, many of whom reside in the vicinity of waters affected by Defendant's discharges of pollutants. Further, the complaint states the plaintiff implements scientific, educational and legal programs aimed at protecting water quality and the habitat in the Columbia River Basin to support their mission.
According to the complaint, the defendant, Mercury Plastics, is a Washington-based corporation which operates a thermoforming, plastics, fabrication and printing facility near the Columbia River. The plaintiff alleges the defendant is discharging stormwater and other pollutants from its industrial activity into the Columbia River through pipes, drains and other "discrete stormwater conveyances." Further, the plaintiff claims this discharge has contributed to the polluted conditions of the Columbia River and the impairment of its temperature, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, copper, zinc and aesthetic values, which has caused the Columbia River to be included on the 303(d) list of impaired waters. The plaintiff purports that its members enjoyment of the Columbia River and its surrounding area is diminished by the defendants contribution to its polluted state.
The plaintiff alleges the injuries to its members and the Columbia River are fairly traceable to the defendant's stormwater discharge and attached an extensive Notice Letter to the complaint outlining its findings and the defendants violations. Included in these alleged violations are failure to monitor and report quality of stormwater, discharge of pollution that violates water quality standards, failure to implement a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan, failure to comply with corrective action requirements and failure to follow best practices as required by its permits.
The alleged cause of actions are the violation of the terms and conditions of defendant's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits, and the violation of Sections 301(a) and 402 the Clean Water Act. The plaintiffs seek declaratory judgment, injunctive relief, civil penalties and an award of costs, including attorneys' and expert witnesses' fees.
The plaintiff is represented by Smith & Lowney, PLLC.
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