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Huntington Beach foundry settles environmental lawsuit filed by local group

Huntington Beach foundry settles environmental lawsuit filed by local group
Huntington Harbour, pictured, was one local waterway being affected by industrial pollutants coming from a Huntington Beach-based foundry, according to a federal lawsuit filed by Costa Mesa-based Orange County Coastkeeper. The case has been settled. (File Photo / Los Angeles Times)

A Huntington Beach foundry has settled a lawsuit filed by Costa Mesa-based Orange County Coastkeeper alleging that discharges from the facility were polluting nearby waterways and violating federal environmental laws.

The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana in February 2017, alleged that Fox Hills Industries at 5831 Research Drive did not implement best management practices to address its industrial pollutants and contaminated discharge that entered the stormwater system and flowed into the nearby Bolsa Chica Channel, Huntington Harbour and Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge.

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The foundry specializes in brass and bronze and manufactures pump components.

Coastkeeper said in filings that it collected various pollutants, including copper, zinc, lead, iron and aluminum that, in excess, are known to adversely affect aquatic species. The group said in a news release Thursday that it tested rainwater in 2016 flowing from Fox Hills and found nearly 300 times the alllowable level of copper.

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Last month, Fox Hills and Coastkeeper agreed to a settlement in which Fox Hills would no longer discharge from a portion of its foundry. The company also agreed to contain its equipment so it doesn't come in contact with rainfall and become runoff, to conduct various grinding and melting activity indoors, install berms that help contain stormwater and train employees on the new procedures.

Fox Hills also agreed to give $15,000 to the Wetlands & Wildlife Care Center in Huntington Beach.

An attorney for Fox Hills declined to comment about the settlement Thursday.

Coastkeeper said in its news release that if Fox Hills makes its improvements, it will "make history as the first Orange County facility to make such a significant reduction in polluted stormwater through a settlement with Coastkeeper."

"We expect these improvements to be a model for other industrial facilities looking to come into compliance and keep our waters safe for families and our California way of life," Colin Kelly, senior staff attorney for Coastkeeper, said in a statement.

Twitter: @BradleyZint

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