Environmentalists sued California Redwood Co., saying the logging company’s chip facility in Humboldt County has violated clean water law by dumping polluted storm water into Humboldt Bay.
The lawsuit, filed by Humboldt Baykeeper in San Francisco federal court Monday, asked the court to declare the company in violation of the Clean Water Act and the Storm Water Permit regulations and to enjoin further alleged violations as well as order civil penalties of $37,500 a day for each violation since 2011.
California Redwood Co. of Arcata, operates a chip facility in Samoa, south of Arcata. The 57-acre site along the Humboldt Bay shore is used to store and ship wood chips that area sent overseas. The chips come from lumber mills offsite.
The lawsuit alleges the industrial operation to move the large stockpiles of chips and load them on ships produces stormwater runoff pollutants from machinery operations, heavy equipment, septic tanks and leachfield systems.
Baykeeper contends the company discharges runoff from the operations, as well as from cleaning and refueling to pollute the bay, the headwaters of the Eel River. It also contends the company no longer conducts required tests for iron in the stormwater runoff, as required under the permit.
Humboldt Bay contains a 4,000-acre National Wildlife Refuge that was created in 1971 to protect migratory water birds and is a stopover for millions of birds along the Pacific Flyway.
The lawsuit claims the company has failed to develop an adequate plan to prevent storm water pollution runoff into the bay.
Case: Humboldt Baykeeper v. California Redwood Co. No. 16-cv-6970