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Lawsuit claims fabricator polluted Calif. waterways

Keywords: Tags  steel, environemntal, lawsuit, SOS Steel, San Francisco Baykeeper, steel fabricator, U.S. Clean Water Act, violations Frank Haflich

LOS ANGELES — A San Francisco environmental group has filed a lawsuit against a steel fabricator, alleging the company allowed "unlawful discharge of pollutants" into a San Francisco Bay tributary.

Nonprofit group San Francisco Baykeeper claims SOS Steel Co. Inc., Santa Clara, Calif., made "ongoing and continuous" violations of the U.S. Clean Water Act and the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System between January 2008 and November 2012, according to court documents filed March 15 in U.S. District Court in California.

Baykeeper alleged the fabricator unlawfully discharged pollutants—which could include lead, copper, zinc and other toxic materials—into the Guadalupe River, according to a Jan. 7 letter to SOS Steel outlining Baykeeper’s intent to file suit. The group claimed the company has not developed nor implemented an adequate stormwater prevention plan or a proper monitoring and reporting program, as required by its local permit.

The environmental organization was willing during the 60-day notice period to "discuss effective remedies for the violations," according to the letter. It was unclear whether the two sides held discussions.

Baykeeper is seeking declaratory and injunctive relief for the alleged violations, and plans to seek civil penalties and court costs.

SOS Steel provides "comprehensive steel packages" that include basic structural items and miscellaneous packages, specializing in structural framing projects, according to its website.

Neither an SOS Steel executive nor a Baykeeper attorney could be reached for comment.

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