Stormwater from the Connecticut Galvanizing facility flows into a nearby stream.

NEW HAVEN, CT—On Jan. 14, NELC attorneys filed suit in federal district court in Connecticut against a Glastonbury metal galvanizing facility, alleging more than 2,000 violations of the federal Clean Water Act.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Environment Connecticut and Toxics Action Center and their members, asks the court to order the companies that own and operate the facility—Connecticut Galvanizing Corporation, Highway Safety Corporation, and Highway Safety Design and Fabrication—to comply with the Clean Water Act and to pay a civil penalty for their violations.

The suit alleges that the Connecticut Galvanizing facility routinely discharges illegal levels of toxic metals into two nearby streams.

Connecticut Galvanizing’s own monitoring reports show that the stormwater it discharges into Salmon Brook and Hubbard Brook frequently contains zinc, lead, and copper in concentrations significantly higher than the permit limits set by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Tests of the facility’s stormwater runoff also show that it is highly toxic to aquatic life.

In December, before the lawsuit was filed, NELC attorneys were allowed to inspect the facility site with an expert in wastewater engineering.

“Our expert’s inspection of the Connecticut Galvanizing site has made clear that heavy metals and other pollutants are contaminating the facility’s stormwater runoff because of a failure to implement basic pollution prevention measures,” explained NELC Staff Attorney Kevin Budris.

Before filing the case in court, NELC attorneys provided the companies with a detailed description of numerous pollution control measures that would prevent byproducts from the facility’s galvanizing process from washing into stormwater drains.

The companies, however, have not agreed to adopt any of these proposals. Nor have they implemented any alternative engineering solutions to address the persistent stormwater pollution at the facility.

“This ongoing toxic pollution is an insult to the local community,” said Toxics Action Center Executive Director Sylvia Broude. “Filing this lawsuit fulfills the role Congress intended citizens to play in seeing that the Clean Water Act is implemented and enforced.”

The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Jeffrey A. Meyer. No trial date has yet been set. With the support of our members, NELC will work to ensure the Clean Water Act is implemented in this and other cases.