Jerry Williams lost his business to the rain.
On Feb. 28, 2014, a half-inch of rain fell in National City. Like state water pollution laws required, one of Williams employees at A-1 Alloys Recycling Center grabbed a sample of water running across the northwest corner of his half-acre scrapyard.
The water was sent to a lab and tested for pollution. A report was sent to the State Water Resources Control Board. The results weren’t good. A business like A-1 is supposed to keep the amount of copper down to .0048 milligrams per liter. The water from A-1 was 2.84 parts per million copper, nearly 600 times the target.
By February 2015, two attorneys – Matt O’Malley of San Diego Coastkeeper and Drevet Hunt of Lawyers for Clean Water Inc. in San Francisco – had seen A-1’s lab results and others from the company going back to 2009. They told Williams they were ready to take him to court for violating clean water laws.
Williams’ attorney pleaded on his behalf. His was one of the businesses actually sending in the samples – many don’t – and he’d been trying to follow the law, attorney and family friend Carol Brophy argued in a letter to Coastkeeper.
Support Independent Journalism Today
Stormwater pollution is San Diego’s biggest water issue and is a threat to our human and environmental health. We can either turn a blind eye and do nothing, or we can start somewhere to protect the people of San Diego. While this story misses a lot of facts, I hope it shines a light on the fact that facilities are polluting and inspires citizens to protect their community by reporting stormwater pollution.
In the case of A-1 Alloys, water discharged from its site exceeded the legal limits by hundreds of times over. It’s sad that as a company reportedly taking in millions of dollars a year, it chose to shut down one of its locations rather than spend a fraction of its profit to follow the law.
We know from the long-time work of our counterparts in Orange County and elsewhere, that this sort of effort is beneficial for the community, the business and the industry as a whole — such as the collaborative and cooperative approach in scrap metal yards in Orange County. I encourage folks to learn about more about how we at San Diego Coastkeeper use the Clean Water Act to successfully protect our communities.
So you wipe the guy out.
A shakedown is a shakedown .
Your an extortionist pure and simple.
@Mark Giffin He's not an extortionist. He's a nice guy with a sincere belief in maintaining a healthy environment. If you're a business receiving a notice of intent to sue letter, it hurts, but it is possible to work something out.
For reasons the article doesn't explore in detail, negotiations between A-1 and Coastkeeper didn't work out. Its sad that a local business wasn't able to continue operations, but from this article we have no idea what solutions they considered, or how those potential solutions impacted A-1's margins. There are a lot of things a business can do to meet water quality standards. It's not always easy, but it can be done.
The deeper problem that the article just glosses over flows from those operators that discharge but don't report. They reduce water quality for everyone, and business that honestly try and comply with the law are left to shoulder the burden!
And what did this "nice guy" do to help the 14 people that lost their Jobs? or does he even give a damn about that?
He puts a company trying to play by the rules out of business, puts 14 people out of work and walks away with $52.000 dollars.
Sorry Adrian but your definition of nice guy just doesn't cut it.
he behaves like a parasite
Reminds me of an old Soupy Sales line
"never hit a fellow when he's down.....Kick him, its easier"
"O’Malley and Hunt sued A-1 anyway.
By February 2016, two years after it rained, A-1 Alloys Recycling Center agreed to go out of business and pay $52,000 to settle the lawsuit. Fourteen people lost their jobs. Williams’ life is now in ruins."
A CLASSIC CALIFORNIA STORY. In a state that surely has the most lawyers per thousand residents of any place in the world, the laws are written by legislators (mostly lawyers), for the financial benefit of lawyers.
If Shakespeare weren't endangered on college campuses for being a "dead white male", we could invoke his immortal quote, "Here's what we do. First we kill........"
You can't stop the rain, this law is nothing more than a money grab for lawyers and environmental groups. You CAN NOT STOP runoff and you can't realistically clean it. Trillions of gallons of water fall .. there are metals in everything, what's next? A permit for houses ? This lunacy must stop ..