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US EPA demands that Seven-Up correct stormwater runoff

Release Date: 2/17/2004
Contact Information: Francisco Arcaute, U.S. EPA, (213) 452-3378

Buena Park and San Fernando plants affected

LOS ANGELES -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is ordering the Seven-Up/RC Bottling Company of Southern California, Inc. to immediately comply with the federal Clean Water Act at two plants near Los Angeles.

Stormwater polluted by industrial materials such as fuel and battery acid runs off from Seven-Up plants at 7225 Orangethorpe Avenue,in Buena Park and another at 1166 Arroyo Avenue in San Fernando.

The San Fernando facility fuels and washes Seven-Up's truck fleet and stores wastes in the open air, allowing polluted stormwater from the facility to drain into the Pacoima Wash Canal and the Los Angeles River. A Clean Water Act permit is required to discharge industrial stormwater to waterways. Under the permit, Seven-Up would have to undertake specific pollution management practices and closely monitor runoff from its operations.

The Buena Park facility, which recently obtained stormwater permit coverage after warnings from the EPA and state regulators, nevertheless failed to carry out the required pollution management practices. Here, polluted stormwater drains into the Melrose Channel and Fullerton Creek. In addition, the industrial effluent discharged by the plant into the sewer system proved to be excessively acidic. To protect municipal sewerage treatment systems from corrosive structural damage, EPA regulators specifically prohibit the discharge of acidic industrial wastewater to sewers.

"Polluted runoff from these two facilities discharges to Southern California waterways," said Alexis Strauss, director of the EPA's Water Division in its San Francisco headquarters. "To protect public health and the environment, we trust that Seven-Up will promptly comply with the Clean Water Act and rectify the problems at these plants."

The EPA is ordering Seven-Up to:
minimize and prevent the discharge of pollutants into waterways;
perform a daily inspection of industrial activity areas;
complete specific clean-up tasks and seek stormwater permit coverage; and
determine the causes and implement the remedies for its acidic wastewater.

These are EPA's third and fourth orders within the last eight months to Seven-Up. These orders come on the heels of a July 2003 order to the company's Vernon bottling facility and a December 2003 order to the company's Orange warehousing facility for similar Clean Water Act violations. Failure to comply with the EPA order could make Seven-Up liable for civil penalties of up to $27,500 per day per violation.