LOS ANGELES, California, October 8, 2009 (ENS) – Four firms that are tenants of the Port of Los Angeles have been cited by the U.S. EPA for discharging polluted stormwater into San Pedro Harbor.

The U.S. EPA has filed administrative complaints against Marine Technical Services, Eagle Marine Services, Ltd., American Marine Corporation and San Pedro Forklift, seeking penalties of up to $177,500 against each company for alleged stormwater violations of the Clean Water Act.

“Marine industries are responsible for managing their operations to protect the harbor and beaches from industrial runoff,” said Alexis Strauss, Water Division director for the EPA’s Pacific Southwest region.

The U.S. EPA and the Los Angeles Regional Quality Control Board conducted a stormwater audit of the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in May 2007, and six months later issued 20 administrative orders to tenants of the ports, including these four firms.

Strauss says the two ports have taken positive steps to address the conclusions of EPA’s audit in their recently approved Water Resources Action Plan, WRAP.

The WRAP includes the framework and mechanisms for compliance with stormwater permits issued to the ports, their tenants and the cities of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Straus says polluted runoff is a major cause of water pollution that can carry pollutants, such as metals, oil and grease, acidic wastewater, bacteria, trash, and other toxic pollutants from industrial sources into San Pedro Harbor.

“EPA will continue to ensure that facilities hold the proper permits and implement required water pollution control measures,” she said.

Marine Technical Services provides ship and crane repair, industrial plant maintenance and repair, electrical and mechanical equipment modification and retrofits as well as training of crane and hydraulics mechanics.

Eagle Marine Services provides stevedoring services such as cargo-handling and terminal operations. The company’s Port of Los Angeles terminal spans 292 acres, making it one of the largest facilities of its kind in North America.

American Marine Corporation provides specialty marine contracting, commercial diving, and vessel support services to clients in the public and private sectors.

San Pedro Forklift, Inc. moves a wide variety of commodities, including Kraftliner and newsprint rolls, baled cotton, frozen meats, citrus, vegetables, ceramic tile and flooring, as well as packaged foods and beverages.

EPA alleges that the four firms violated the Clean Water Act by:

  • discharging pollutants in stormwater without a stormwater permit or not in compliance with a stormwater permit;
  • failing to develop and implement an adequate stormwater pollution prevention plan, which identifies sources of industrial stormwater pollution and how the firm intends to manage them;
  • failing to develop a site-specific written monitoring plan; and
  • failing to use best management practices to prevent and minimize pollutants from entering stormwater.

The Clean Water Act requires that many industrial facilities that discharge pollutants directly from a point source into a waterway obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit.

The EPA has also supported the ports’ development of a Clean Air Action Plan that seeks to reduce emissions of diesel particulates, nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides from port-related sources by nearly 50 percent by 2011.

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