Tire Factory Accused of Polluting River

PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) – Tire remanufacturer Northwest Retreaders dumps dirty storm water into the Columbia Slough, polluting the river with heavy metals and E. coli, an environmental group claims in Multnomah County Court.

     The Northwest Environmental Defense Center says Northwest Retreaders also refused to monitor and report pollution as required by its National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit.
     The pollution harts aquatic birds and mammals and exacerbates Oregon’s already degraded water quality, the group says.
     Storm water runoff is responsible for “21 percent of impaired lakes and 45 percent of impaired estuaries” in the nation, according to the complaint. Federal agencies cite storm water runoff one of the biggest causes of habitat loss for salmon.
     The small amount of self-monitoring Northwest Retreaders has done does not meet Department of Environmental Quality requirements, according to the complaint.
     The retreader is accused of failing to complete the mandatory monthly visual monitoring since it got its operating permit in 2001. It allegedly failed to file any of the required annual self-monitoring reports between 2001 and 2007. The few quarterly water samples it did submit to the DEQ showed that it regularly exceeded pollution benchmarks, the Center claims.
     The Center wants the tire retreader ordered to stop storing materials in areas exposed to rain, and fined of $32,500 per day for violations before Jan. 19, 2009 and $37,500 per day for violations after that date.
     The Center is represented by Allison LaPlante with the Pacific Environmental Advocacy Center.

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