U.S. EPA settles with Huntington Beach, California, company to protect Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve from industrial stormwater discharges
HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif.– Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized a settlement with Airtech International, Inc. over Clean Water Act violations at its facility in Huntington Beach. Airtech International is a large-scale manufacturer of materials used in the aerospace, automotive, marine, and wind energy industries. The agreement requires the company to pay a $95,208 penalty for unauthorized industrial stormwater discharges between December 2014 and January 2019. Airtech International will also conduct five beach cleanup events and complete a habitat restoration project as part of the settlement.
“Stormwater discharges from the manufacturing industry are a major contributor to California coastal water pollution,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division Director Amy Miller. “This settlement will bring about improved stormwater management at the Airtech facility along with a much needed project to clean up local beaches and restore coastal habitat.”
EPA partnered with the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board to inspect Airtech International’s facility in 2018 and found the company failed to obtain a stormwater discharge permit from the California State Water Resources Control Board. Stormwater runoff from Airtech International discharges into Bolsa Chica Channel, which flows into the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve before entering the Pacific Ocean. EPA also found the facility failed to use best management practices—such as routinely sweeping paved surfaces and covering areas where potential sources of pollution are stored—to reduce or eliminate pollutants in stormwater runoff.
As part of the agreement, Airtech International will spend over $66,000 in 2020 to complete a Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) to support restoration of the local marine environment. The SEP will include five beach cleanup events within Huntington Beach, an initiative to replenish native Olympia oyster shells in the Upper Newport Bay and a replanting of eelgrass to improve sustainability.
Pollutants from industrial stormwater facilities, if not properly managed, can damage water quality and aquatic life. Stormwater runoff from composite tooling production facilities can include plastic resin pellets, oil, grease, and scrap metal.
Federal regulations require that certain industrial facilities obtain National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits to control the discharge of pollutants in stormwater runoff into nearby water bodies. These facilities must develop and implement stormwater pollution prevention plans to prevent runoff from washing harmful pollutants into local water bodies.
For more information on the stormwater permits under the Clean Water Act, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/npdes/npdes-stormwater-program
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