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Major New York Recycling Company Accused of Stormwater violations

The Sierra Club has just filed a significant lawsuit against one of New York’s largest scrap companies — Ben Weitsman & Son and several allegedly relate companies. In this lawsuit, filed in federal court, the Sierra Club alleges that the Defendants improperly store and process scrap metal. The Plaintiff alleges the scrap metal is often contaminated with oil and other substances, and that when it rains these pollutants impact local streams and rivers.

The Recycler denies the allegations, publicly asserting that it has been working with state regulators and attempts to be in compliance. The company has publicly also asserted that the rules often change and become increasingly stringient and that it attempts to remain in compliance but that this is somewhat of a moving target.

In general these cases alleging stormwater violations will likely be on the rise. Regulators see stormwater control as an important tool in addressing flooding concerns and surface and groundwater pollution. With climate change implications, efforts to reduce flooding are becoming more prominent.

While these cases usually settle with an agreement to undertake certain measures and payment of attorneys fees, we will need to watch this case closely to see what the parties produce by way of evidence and whether it will actually be tried. In any event, it will likely take years for this case to move to trial if it does not settle as the COVID virus has generally backed up our court system.

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