During every rainfall event, millions of gallons of polluted rainwater originating from Ventura County industrial operations, including from scrap metal yards, pours into storm drains and ends up in the Santa Clara River, the Ventura River, Calleguas Creek, Mugu Lagoon, the Santa Clara and Ventura River Estuaries, and Pacific Ocean. The consensus among water quality experts and government agencies is that storm water pollution accounts for more than half of the total pollution entering marine and inland waterbodies annually. The pollutants associated with activities commonly conducted at scrap metal recycling facilities include, but are not limited to: toxic metals such as zinc, copper, lead, cadmium, and chromium; paint pigments and hydraulic fluids (stationary scrap processing facilities); gas, diesel, oil, and lubricants (fueling stations); oils and grease, lubricants, PCBs, hydraulic fluids, and heavy metals (hydraulic equipment and systems operations); and fuel and fuel additives, brake fluids, transmission fluids, chlorinated solvents, and arsenic (vehicle maintenance operations).

The pollutants discharged from industrial sites during storm events pose acute and chronic toxicity threats to the marine and freshwater organisms they encounter, devastating aquatic habitats and their wildlife, and impairing the recovery of endangered species such as the Southern California Steelhead. 

Ventura Coastkeeper monitors and samples industrial stormwater discharges, and pursues Clean Water Act enforcement actions against the most egregious polluters to abate their toxic discharges into our waters.