Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeffrey Rosen has announced the settlement of an environmental lawsuit against Graniterock Company filed in February alleging water pollution from two of its facilities.
The $325,000 settlement, which was announced Monday and dated March 21 — less than a month after the suit was filed — also bars Graniterock from future violations of the Fish and Game Code.
The complaint alleged that Graniterock created stormwater discharge from two of its facilities containing sediment, iron and heavy metals, as well as cement, aggregate and sand that made its way into Coyote Creek, the Guadalupe River and eventually into the Bay.
On April 12, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Eric Geffon determined the settlement was a “fair and reasonable resolution” of the issues raised in the district attorney’s complaint.
Graniterock sold concrete, sand, aggregate, hot asphalt mix and other building materials from two facilities in San Jose, one at 11711 Berryessa Road and the other at 100 and 120 Granite Rock Way.
“Coyote Creek is a vital watershed in the Santa Clara Valley, and prosecuting stormwater runoff cases shows our commitment to protecting our natural resources.”Jeffrey Rosen, Santa Clara County District Attorney
Coyote Creek is a steelhead trout waterway that flows through habitats historically occupied by the California tiger salamander and the California red-legged frog, and thereafter flows into the Guadalupe River. The Guadalupe River then flows into the San Francisco Bay.
According to the complaint, the discharge of these “deleterious substances and materials” violated the Fish and Game Code and California’s unfair competition law.
In addition to the injunction, the settlement requires Graniterock to take a number of actions to prevent future discharge of pollutants.
Civil penalties were also imposed.
Graniterock will pay the district attorney’s office $250,000, of which $50,000 will be distributed to state and local funds for fish and wildlife propagation.
In addition, $75,000 will be paid to a nonprofit environmental organization headquartered in Gilroy to fund “supplemental environmental projects” that are to benefit Santa Clara County waterways.
“Coyote Creek is a vital watershed in the Santa Clara Valley, and prosecuting stormwater runoff cases shows our commitment to protecting our natural resources,” Rosen said in a statement.
Graniterock is already subject to a court order from federal litigation brought in 2021 by San Francisco Baykeeper, a nonprofit environmental group, alleging violations of the Clean Water Act because of pollutants found in stormwater runoff from its facilities.