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Joint Release

Rainwater Capture Systems at Waste and Recycling Facilities Improve Santa Ana River Water Quality

Underground water filtration system stops polluted water from flowing into streets and waterways

ORANGE COUNTY — September 18, 2018 — Waste and recycling collection company CR&R, Inc. and clean-water advocacy group Orange County Coastkeeper announce significant water quality improvements to waterways such as the Santa Ana River, following structural improvements at two solid waste sites in Orange County, California.

Following a 2015 agreement with Coastkeeper, CR&R upgraded its stormwater capture systems at two sites in the city of Stanton to prevent pollution from flowing into local waterways. One facility is a trash recycling center and the second, smaller facility repairs and restores waste and recycling bins.

CR&R re-graded the recycling site and installed drainage systems to capture a majority of the rainwater. CR&R built a large underground tank system equipped with oil-water separators that purifies water from industrial facilities — so it can infiltrate into the soil beneath the site and replenish the groundwater table. At the second facility, CR&R moved most of its operations indoors and installed covered outdoor storage areas to prevent pollutants from flowing offsite.

Now, nearly all stormwater is collected onsite and directed to filtration systems instead of reaching nearby waterways. CR&R is also utilizing water-testing protocols beyond current testing requirements. In 2017, the two facilities only reported one instance of releasing stormwater from the site during an unusually large rain event – a significant improvement for local water quality.

“By taking steps to end stormwater pollution in our communities, CR&R is protecting our swimmable waters for generations to come,” said Colin Kelly, senior staff attorney at Coastkeeper. “We’re encouraged by this corporation’s commitment to protecting our shared environment, and we hope more facilities will follow its example.”

In addition to upgrading its facilities and conducting ongoing water monitoring, CR&R contributed $60,000 to the Rose Foundation to fund a variety of environmental restoration projects in Southern California watersheds. It also donated funds to Coastkeeper’s Living Shorelines program, which restores habitats for native Olympia oysters in Upper Newport Bay.

“CR&R is a recognized leader in environmental stewardship and recycling. In fact, our waste and recycling collection vehicles are fueled by clean and renewable natural gas, which we generate from our own reclaimed organic waste,” said John McNamara, CR&R’s vice president of environmental compliance. “This agreement furthers our commitment to be a good neighbor to the communities we operate in by complying with the Clean Water Act.”

Over the past 19 years, Coastkeeper has successfully worked with more than 60 local facilities to prevent industrial runoff and help them come into compliance with clean water laws.



CR&R, Inc. is a solid waste and recycling leader with state of the art organics diversion and recycling operations throughout California. They have built and operate the largest Anaerobic Digester in the country and are currently producing renewable biomethane fuel that is used as a renewable CNG fuel in their solid waste collection trucks.


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 or call 714-850-1965. Inland Empire Waterkeeper is a chapter of Orange County Coastkeeper. For more information, please visit