Activist company

Activist group sues aviation company for polluting LA river

Activist group Los Angeles Waterkeeper filed a lawsuit in the Central District of California on Wednesday against Hughes Brothers Aircrafters, Inc. for allegedly discharging polluted water from their aircraft manufacturing plant in central California. .

Storm sewers and sewers all meet in Los Angeles, draining into Santa Monica Bay and the West Coast, where companies like the defendant’s “drain away stormwater […] contaminated with sediment, heavy metals, trash and other pollutants,” the complaint began.

The defendant’s facility, according to the complaint, shapes, heats and treats various metals into aircraft parts and expels their wastes into sewer channels with storm sewer inlets that discharge into the Los Angeles River. The river eventually empties into San Pedro Bay and then into the Pacific Ocean, in densely populated areas where average citizens go to swim, surf, and more. Several times from 2018 to 2022, Waterkeeper measured Hughes’ drain inlets and found that they had passed EPA-regulated amounts of metals in their stormwater for zinc, copper, lead, aluminum and others.

Waterkeeper alleged Hughes failed to implement EPA-approved plans that would have achieved acceptable pollution levels. According to the complaint, Hughes has failed to demonstrate that “a mobile wet scrubber or vacuum sweeper is maintained to perform sweeping activities” nor has it proven that they “store all materials capable of generate … fugitive lead dust in sealed watertight containers.” Defendant also allegedly failed to create a plan to monitor its emissions and submitted faulty tests to the EPA. As a result, Waterkeeper is suing for violation EPA license terms and conditions.

Plaintiff seeks declaratory relief, an injunction directing defendant to “immediately” implement stormwater pollution control, prepare a pollution prevention plan, civil penalties of up to $59,973 per day, attorney’s fees and costs and other remedies.

Los Angeles Waterkeeper is represented by Sycamore Law, Inc.