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Newport Beach concrete company agrees to $300,000 settlement over water pollution claims in Orange County, Los Angeles

Two concrete mixing companies will pay $300,000 to clean-water advocacy groups in Orange and Los Angeles counties as part of a court settlement last month following allegations that polluted stormwater originating from their facilities made its way to local bodies of water.
A joint complaint filed in April by Orange County Coastkeeper and Los Angeles Waterkeeper alleged that Newport Beach-based A&A Ready Mixed Concrete and its subsidiary Associated Ready Mixed Concrete violated the Clean Water Act by discharging stormwater with high pH levels and metals from its facilities in Fountain Valley, Foothill Ranch and Gardena.
Calls to Associated Ready Mixed Concrete and A&A Ready Mixed Concrete were not immediately returned.
The polluted water from the Orange County facilities degrade “water quality and harm aquatic life in the Santa Ana River watershed, and impair Coastkeeper’s members’ use and enjoyment of those waters,” the complaint said.
A&A’s failure to comply with the Clean Water Act resulted in polluted stormwater and non-stormwater from its Gardena facility that harmed aquatic life in the Dominguez Channel, LA Waterkeeper said, according to the complaint.
During rainfall events in 2015 and 2016, members of both groups collected samples from public property as the stormwater left the facilities and had it analyzed at a lab, said Coastkeeper attorney Colin Kelley.
The terms of the Nov. 17 settlement require that part of the money go toward environmental projects, which are intended to offset the harm caused by the polluted water, Kelly said.
About $30,000 will be donated to the Wetland and Wildlife Care Center of Orange County in Huntington Beach, which rehabilitates and releases injured and orphaned wildlife in Southern California, he said.
Kelly said the the center will use the money to improve or purchase new outdoor aviaries — large cages that house birds, some of which are endangered.
Another $25,000 will go to the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro, he said.
Aside from the settlement’s financial terms, both concrete companies agreed to improve ways to act more environmentally responsible.
The suit is Coastkeeper’s third against the concrete industry, Kelly said, adding that “this industry has really been improved because of these actions.”
Some concrete companies have shown interest in reducing the use of drinking water to mix and make concrete.
Associated has agreed to retain stormwater for that use, Kelly said.
“It keeps the polluted stormwater out of our streets, streams, bays and the beach, but it also keeps those pollutants in the concrete when it dries,” he said. “We don’t suspect that we’re going to be seeing these larger concrete batch plants being a significant source of pollution in the future.”
Source: Oc Register

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