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Court Orders Local Company to Immediately Stop Illegal Dumping on Protected Agricultural Land

Santa Clara County, CA The Santa Clara County Superior Court has issued an order requiring that a local construction company immediately cease dumping hazardous and corrosive construction waste on protected agricultural land in rural Almaden Valley.

The County of Santa Clara Office of the County Counsel filed the lawsuit after determining that the company, United Concrete Cutting, Inc. (UCC), and several affiliated individuals, were transporting hazardous concrete slurry waste from construction sites to a remote property in Almaden Valley, and then dumping the slurry into crudely dug pits. The County also explained in its court filings that UCC dug culverts directing the waste into Santa Teresa Creek, which runs through County parks and feeds into Guadalupe River and the San Francisco Bay.

The County requested that the Court take immediate action given the imminent threat to public health and environmental safety caused by the illegal transport, storage, and dumping of corrosive concrete waste, petroleum distillates, and lead. The Santa Clara County Superior Court granted the request on March 30.

County Counsel James R. Williams emphasized that other businesses should take notice: “It’s the County’s job to protect the environment and the public health, and we won’t tolerate businesses that skirt the law and use protected agricultural land as dumping grounds.”

The property at issue is zoned as Exclusive Agriculture, a County designation that seeks to preserve lands most suitable for agricultural production.  Joe Deviney, the County’s Agricultural Commissioner, noted the importance of taking action to ensure the long-term viability of agriculture in the county: “This kind of illegal dumping is devastating to our agricultural future, and it’s critical that we do everything possible to protect the agricultural land we have left in the county, including taking legal action like we have here.”

The County learned of UCC’s activity from an anonymous complaint, which led to an extensive investigation that the County carried out in coordination with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC).  Dr. Marilyn Underwood, Director of the County’s Department of Environmental Health, thanked the complainants and the State for their partnership:  “The people are our eyes and ears in these rural areas.  It’s incredibly helpful when folks let us know about suspicious activity so we can mobilize an enforcement action to keep our community members and the environment safe from potentially hazardous contamination or pollution.  We’re particularly thankful to DTSC for their excellent partnership in responding to this unfortunate situation.”

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The County of Santa Clara government serves a diverse, multi-cultural population of 1.9 million residents in Santa Clara County, California, making it more populous than 14 states in the U.S. The County provides essential services to its residents, including public health protection, environmental stewardship, medical services through the County of Santa Clara Health System, child and adult protection services, homelessness prevention and solutions, roads, park services, libraries, emergency response to disasters, protection of minority communities and those under threat, access to a fair criminal justice system, and many other public benefits.

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Media Contacts: Office of Communications and Public Affairs, [email protected], (408) 299-5119

Posted: April 3, 2023