Community Celebrates Judgment Ruling for Water Quality Improvements in Santa Ana River
- Orange County Coastkeeper successfully prevented polluted runoff from entering local Temescal Creek
- Temescal Creek and the pollution it carries, empties into the Santa Ana River, Southern California’s largest river
Orange County Coastkeeper celebrates a recent court ruling to protect the community and native species from stormwater pollution flowing from Corona Clay Company into Temescal Creek, which drains to the Santa Ana River – Southern California’s largest river. The company based in Corona, CA manufactures clay materials for use in athletic tracks, infields, tennis courts and mud baths. This fine sediment of clay was found to flow into the Temescal Creek with high levels of metal, coating the bottom of the bank and causing harm to aquatic life in the area.
The judge issued the clay manufacturer a civil penalty of $3.7 million for its violation of the Clean Water Act and its lack of proper management of its industrial stormwater permit. This is among the largest of civil penalties in the history of California’s Industrial Storm Water Permit implementing the Clean Water Act.
When it rains in Riverside County, stormwater containing sediments and metals flows from the clay manufacturing facility into the Temescal Creek causing harm to local aquatic life including threatened and endangered species. With this judgment, Coastkeeper expects the Corona Clay Company to improve their best management practices necessary to prevent polluted stormwater from entering the creek, which would improve water quality for local aquatic life and residents.
- 2017: Inland Empire Waterkeeper sent a letter to Corona Clay, the EPA and the state of California informing that Corona Clay routinely violated the Clean Water Act
- 2018: Waterkeeper sued with evidence gathered by state regulators, Corona Clay’s own records, and with a team of Waterkeeper investigators
- 2019: U.S. District Court Judge, David O. Carter affirmed Waterkeeper’s allegations and held Corona Clay’s stormwater best management practices and stormwater pollution prevention plan violated the Clean Water Act
- 2020: Judge Carter issued a final judgment resolving the case, ordering Corona Clay to implement pollution controls necessary to comply with the Clean Water Act, revise their stormwater pollution prevention plan, and pay $3.7 million in penalties to the U.S Treasury
- Quote from Orange County Coastkeeper Senior Staff Attorney Colin Kelly: “This is an important case in the struggle to restore water quality and demand accountability for those industrial facilities that consider complying with the Clean Water Act as optional.”
- Quote from Garry Brown, Founder and President of Coastkeeper and the Inland Empire Waterkeeper: “Coastkeeper is delighted with this ruling that holds Corona Clay responsible to comply with the Clean Water Act and accountable for years of illegal discharges that pollute Temescal Creek.”
ADDITIONAL DETAILS AND CONTACT
- Organization: Orange County Coastkeeper
- Interviews available: For interviews with Orange County Coastkeeper’s legal team, contact Isabella: [email protected]
- Link to use in your story: https://www.
ORANGE COUNTY COASTKEEPER: Orange County Coastkeeper is a member of the International Waterkeeper Alliance, which has 241 different independent programs across 40 countries. Founded in 1999, the mission of Coastkeeper is to protect and promote sustainable water resources that are swimmable, drinkable, and fishable. Coastkeeper is a nonprofit clean water organization that serves as a proactive steward of our fresh- and saltwater ecosystems. We work collaboratively with diverse groups in the public and private sectors to achieve healthy, accessible, and sustainable water resources for the region. We implement innovative, effective programs in education, advocacy, restoration, research, enforcement, and conservation. For more information, visit www.coastkeeper.org or call 714-850-1965.