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TWC Storage, LLC v. State Water Resources Control Bd.

Citation: 40 ELR 20153
No. No. H033228, (Cal. App. 6th Dist., 06/03/2010)

A California appellate court affirms a lower court's denial of a petition challenging a regional water board's imposition of a $25,000 fine against a company for a chemical spill on its property that infiltrated the groundwater. The company argued that the board abused its discretion in imposing the fine because neither the law nor the facts supported the imposition of the fine. But the board properly applied the relevant statutes. Evidence supports the board's conclusion that the company "caused or permitted" the discharge into the groundwater in violation of Water Code §13350. The company was strictly liable for the discharge. Therefore, it cannot be absolved simply because its contractors were negligent or also could be held liable for the discharge. The company also failed to report the spill in violation of Water Code §13264. Nor was the company deprived of due process and a fair hearing at the administrative hearing before the board.