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Wishtoyo Foundation v. Magic Mountain LLC

United States District Court, Central District of California

December 3, 2014

Wishtoyo Foundation
v.
Magic Mountain LLC et al

ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT AS TO PLAINTIFFS’ FOURTH CAUSE OF ACTION

On June 24, 2014, Plaintiffs filed a motion for partial summary judgment on their fourth cause of action for violations of the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) numeric effluent limitations based on 36 instances in which Defendants’ self-reported monitoring results were in excess of the effluent limits. (Docket No. 131.) Defendants opposed on July 28 and Plaintiffs replied on August 4. (Docket Nos. 156, 161.) Following a hearing on August 13 regarding new issues raised on reply, the Court granted a discovery continuance and permitted Defendants to submit a sur-reply, which they filed on October 6. (Docket No. 199.) The Court heard oral argument on October 20, 2014. After the hearing, the parties lodged supplemental evidence on October 27, 2014. (Docket Nos. 226, 233.) Having reviewed the briefs, supporting documents, and arguments, the Court GRANTS IN PART AND DENIES IN PART Plaintiffs’ motion for partial summary judgment as to the fourth cause of action.

I.

BACKGROUND

The following facts are taken from the evidence presented in support of and in opposition to the motion. The facts set forth below are undisputed unless otherwise noted.

Since December 29, 2006, Magic Mountain LCC (“MMLLC”) has owned and operated a 260-acre amusement park in Valencia, California (the “Facility”), which is directly adjacent to the Santa Clara River. Statement of Undisputed Facts (“SUF”) 1. Six Flags Theme Parks, Inc. (“SFINC”), the predecessor to MMLLC, was a named permit holder and entered into settlement agreements with the State for permit violations at the Facility as late as 2009.[1] Id. The Facility discharges wastewater and storm water from three discharge points set forth in MMLLC’s NPDES permits: Discharge Points 001, 002, and 003. (SUF 2.)

The Facility’s discharges into the Santa Clara River are regulated by three successive individual NPDES Permits (collectively, the “Individual Permits”). (SUF 4.) On June 2, 2005, the Regional Water Quality Control Board (“RWQCB”) issued SFINC an individual permit, which was amended in 2008. (SUF 5-6.) The 2008 amendment was issued to “Magic Mountain, LLC (Former Six Flags Theme Park, Inc.).” (Docket No. 133-2 [Declaration of Daniel P. Mensher, Ex. 2].) In 2011, the RWQCB issued an individual permit to MMLLC only. (SUF 7.)

The Individual Permits contain numeric effulent limitations. (SUF 8.) Permit holders are required to monitor the effluent discharged from their facilities and report data regarding pollutants in its discharges to the RWQCB and the EPA. (SUF 22.) The following sets forth relevant portions of those reports regarding storm water discharges from 2006 through 2011.

A. Annual Reports

In the 2006-2007 Annual Report for Storm Water Discharges Associated with Industrial Activities, “Six Flags Magic Mountain” (the dba of MMLLC) reported the following discharges:

• a copper sample of 83 µg/L from Discharge Point 001, taken on April 20, 2007 (SUF 23);
• a copper sample of 41 µg/L from Discharge Point 002, taken on April 20, 2007 (SUF 24);
• a copper sample of 260 µg/L from Discharge Point 003, taken on April 20, 2007 (SUF 25);
• a total suspended solids (“TSS”) sample of 420 mg/L from Discharge Point 001, taken on April 20, 2007 (SUF 26); and
• a TSS sample of 220 mg/L from Discharge Point 003, taken on April 20, 2007 (SUF 27).

In the 2007-2008 Annual Report for Storm Water Discharges Associated with Industrial Activities, MMLLC reported the following discharges:

• a TSS sample of 82 mg/L from Discharge Point 003, taken on February 20, 2008 (SUF 28).

In the 2008-2009 Annual Report for Storm Water Discharges Associated with Industrial Activities, MMLLC reported the following discharges:

• a copper sample of 33 µg/L from Discharge Point 001, taken on January 22, 2009 (SUF 29);
• a copper sample of 500 µg/L from Discharge Point 002, taken on February 5, 2009 (SUF 30);
• a TSS sample of 240 mg/L from Discharge Point 001, taken on February 5, 2009 (SUF 31); and
• a TSS sample of 120 mg/L from Discharge Point 003, taken on February 5, 2009 (SUF 32).

In the 2009-2010 Annual Report for Storm Water Discharges Associated with Industrial Activities, MMLLC reported the following discharges:

• a copper sample of 40 µg/L from Discharge Point 001, taken on January 17, 2010 (SUF 33);
• a TSS sample of 110 mg/L from Discharge Poin 001, taken on January 17, 2010 (SUF 34);
• a TSS sample of 86 mg/L from Discharge Point 003, taken on January 17, 2010 (SUF 35);
• two samples of copper at Discharge Point 002 that were 30 µg/L on January 17, 2010 and 40 µg/L on January 26, 2010 (SUF 36);
• two samples of copper at Discharge Point 003 that were 70 µg/L on January 17, 2010 and 100 µg/L on ...

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