EPA Reaches Settlement with S & W Atlas Iron & Metal of Los Angeles over Stormwater Pollution Claims

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has entered into an Administrative Order on Consent with S & W Atlas Iron & Metal Co. Inc. over claims of Clean Water Act violations at its facility in Los Angeles, California. Under the terms of the agreement, the company will undertake several steps to upgrade their treatment system and to prevent stormwater pollutants—including metals—from discharging onto the grounds of Jordan High School and into Compton Creek, a tributary of the Los Angeles River.

“Tackling the harmful pollution carried in stormwater is a vital part of the Clean Water Act. This order requires Atlas to improve their stormwater treatment and eliminate any water pollutant discharge from leaving the site and reaching Jordan High School,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “EPA is committed to protecting human health and the environment by reducing exposure to lead and heavy metals, especially for children and communities with environmental justice concerns.”

Pollutants from industrial facilities that are carried by stormwater, if not properly managed, can impact water quality and aquatic life. This occurs when rainwater washes over surfaces at industrial sites, picking up harmful pollutants like chemicals, metals, and sediments before flowing offsite into nearby streams, rivers, and lakes. The Clean Water Act requires that certain industrial facilities, such as S &W Atlas Iron & Metal, obtain permits to control the discharge of pollutants in stormwater runoff to water bodies. These facilities must develop and implement stormwater pollution prevention plans.

EPA alleges that for the 2022-2023 monitoring period, S &W Atlas Iron & Metal exceeded the limits for levels of iron, zinc, and copper in its discharge. These limits are meant to protect the Los Angeles River. Additionally, EPA alleges that S & W Atlas discharged stormwater through unauthorized breaches in a perimeter wall onto Jordan High School property. To settle these EPA claims of violations, S & W Atlas has agreed to:

Submit and implement a Stormwater Containment Plan.
Operate and maintain the stormwater treatment system and stormwater/oil separator according to the manufacturer’s manual.
Include standard operating procedures in the Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP).
Require and provide frequent training for employees according to the updated SWPPP.

EPA conducts inspections and takes enforcement actions as part of its mission to protect public health and the environment. EPA will monitor S & W Atlas Iron & Metal’s progress and take further action should the company fail to meet its obligations.

Learn more about the stormwater permits under the Clean Water Act.

Read more about the EPA’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System and the Clean Water Act.

For more information on reporting possible violations of environmental laws and regulations visit EPA’s enforcement reporting website.

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