Disney to Face Pollution Claims, L.A. Judge Rules

     (CN) – A federal judge in Los Angeles refused to dismiss a lawsuit accusing Disney of dumping contaminated waste water at its Burbank studios, polluting the surrounding water, land and air with hexavalent chromium.

     U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson denied Disney’s motion to dismiss the claims of Environmental World Watch and four Burbank residents, who said the pollution violates the Clean Water Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.
     They claimed Disney regularly pumped groundwater for the air-cooling system on its 50-acre studio lot, added chemical compounds, and then dumped the spent water through “well water disposal lines.” Those pipes allegedly connect to a city storm drain that empties into the Los Angeles River.
     Water testing at the discharge site revealed hexavalent chromium (Cr VI) concentrations that exceed California’s water-quality standards, the plaintiffs claimed, and soil studies showed Cr VI contamination at a depth of 25 feet.
     Disney continued to dump Cr VI, despite a 1990 federal ban on the chemical’s use in air-cooling systems, according to the lawsuit.
     Judge Pregerson disagreed with Disney’s arguments that the plaintiffs lacked standing and failed to state a claim.
     He also rejected Disney’s bid for a stay, which the studio requested based on the dismissal of a similar lawsuit in Superior Court.
     Pregerson said the case should proceed, because it involves federal claims and plaintiffs who didn’t take part in the state-court case.

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