Clean Water Warriors
The much-awaited rain during the last days of February and early March was a welcome break from the drought and a great opportunity for Los Angeles Waterkeeper’s dedicated S.W.A.T. volunteers to collect storm water samples from nearly one dozen industrial sites throughout LA County. These samples will help us evaluate the level of pollution discharged by facilities such as scrap metal yards, auto dismantlers and waste hauling and transfer stations into Los Angeles rivers and creeks and will ultimately support Los Angeles Waterkeeper’s litigation and advocacy efforts to clean up the pollution drowning our waterways and the ocean.
In the last eighteen months alone we have started 12 new citizen enforcement actions against industrial polluters discharging heavy metals, bacteria, sediments and oil and grease in violation of Clean Water Act permits. To achieve the goal of clean water, we not only work to ensure water quality permits are strong and the entities covered by them comply with permit conditions, we also investigate industrial facilities discharging storm water without a permit. Since late 2012, as a result of our efforts, 9 such unpermitted facilities have obtained coverage under the General Industrial Storm Water Permit and are now required to monitor their discharges to achieve compliance with water quality limits and implement measures to control storm water pollution. Not a small feat for a small environmental organization!
-Tatiana Gaur, Staff Attorney