“Today’s agreement is a win for clean water. Industrial polluters like Tapani must take responsibility for fouling local waterways,”
-Simone Anter, associate attorney with Columbia Riverkeeper.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Metal Fabrication Company Agrees to Comply with Law, Pay $374,000 in Clean Water Lawsuit
Battle Ground, WA (September 4, 2019)—Today, Columbia Riverkeeper and Tapani, Inc. reached an agreement settling a Clean Water Act case, which will become final upon court approval. Under the agreement, Tapani will reduce harmful pollution runoff from its Battle Ground, WA, metal-fabrication facility and pay $374,000 to the Rose Foundation to support projects that improve local water quality. Tapani operates a metal fabrication facility and performs vehicle and equipment repair, fueling, equipment storage, staging, and warehousing near Salmon Creek, a tributary to Lake River, which flows directly into the Columbia River.
“Today’s agreement is a win for clean water. Industrial polluters like Tapani must take responsibility for fouling local waterways,” said Simone Anter, associate attorney with Columbia Riverkeeper. “The settlement ensures tangible results for clean water and funds important work to improve salmon habitat and water quality.”
Columbia Riverkeeper sued Tapani for violating the federal Clean Water Act and state laws that restrict how much pollution industrial facilities release to local waterways. Salmon Creek is home to several stocks of threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead. For over five years, Tapani discharged unhealthy levels of copper and increased turbidity—the murkiness of the water. Copper is toxic to young salmon and steelhead, even at very low concentrations. Turbidity, caused by high sediment levels in the water, can lead to harmful bacterial growth that impair recreational activities like swimming and water sports. Tapani also repeatedly failed to collect and analyze industrial stormwater pollution in violation of federal and state requirements, undermining the public’s and government regulators’ ability to hold the company accountable.
The Columbia River Basin, an area the size of France, accumulates pollution from industry, wastewater treatment plants, and runoff from agricultural lands, logging, industrial sites, and city streets. As a result, the Columbia River and many tributaries are severely degraded by pollution. Toxic pollution threatens the health of people that eat local fish and jeopardizes the public’s right to eat fish caught locally. Rising water temperatures also threaten the health of salmon and other aquatic life that rely on cool water for survival.
Under the Clean Water Act, a federal judge must approve the settlement agreement. The law firm of Smith and Lowney PLLC represented Columbia Riverkeeper in the case.
About the Clean Water Act
The objective of the Clean Water Act, enacted in 1972, “is to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters.” The Clean Water Act requires facilities that discharge wastewater into rivers or lakes to have permits limiting pollution. The Clean Water Act also empowers individuals and organizations to enforce those permits and protect the public’s right to clean, safe rivers.
About Columbia Riverkeeper
Columbia Riverkeeper’s mission is to restore and protect the water quality of the Columbia River and all life connected to it, from the headwaters to the Pacific Ocean. Columbia Riverkeeper is a non-profit organization with over 16,000 members who live, work, and recreate throughout the Columbia River Basin.
- Agreement Between Columbia Riverkeeper and Tapani Inc.
- Water Quality Projects Funded By the Agreement
- Clean Water Act
Columbia Riverkeeper fights for clean water.
We take polluters to court when the government turns its back on illegal pollution.