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Released by: District Attorney
For Immediate Release

Alsco Laundry Facility to Pay $135,000 to Resolve Civil Water Pollution Case Involving Piner Creek

Santa Rosa, CA  –  December 21, 2016  –  Defendant Alsco dba Steiner Corporation, located at 3311 Industrial Drive in Santa Rosa, has agreed to resolve a civil environmental enforcement action brought by the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office based on two instances in the summer of 2015 where they released polluted water into Piner Creek in violation of Fish and Game Code section 5650.1.

District Attorney Ravitch stated that, “Business owners have an obligation to not endanger fish and wildlife in Sonoma County.  Healthy creeks with thriving aquatic populations are a benefit to all of us.”

The City of Santa Rosa’s Water Department runs a pretreatment program designed to manage industries that discharge to the Laguna Treatment Plant.  On June 4, 2015 during a routine inspection of Alsco’s facility in Santa Rosa, an inspector with the City of Santa Rosa’s Water Department observed an industrial wastewater discharge to a storm drain connected to Piner Creek.  The Department determined that an Alsco employee had changed a mechanical pump with a more powerful pump causing an overflow of approximately 100 gallons of laundry wash water into the creek.  As a result, erratic fish behavior and two fish mortalities were observed in Piner Creek by a City of Santa Rosa biologist. 

On June 9, 2015, during a routine inspection, another discharge to Piner Creek was observed by city personnel.  On this occasion an inspector determined that approximately 150 gallons of laundry wash water unlawfully overflowed into Piner Creek due to a lack of maintenance of a tank.  During a subsequent fish rescue operation over two hundred fish and crayfish were rescued from the area and relocated upstream.  Nevertheless, thirty-five fish and three crayfish died as a result of this release.

Alsco cleaned up the creek and storm drain on both occasions. 

The Santa Rosa Water Department issued a notice of violation to Alsco for having violated its industrial waste water discharge permit, and California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife began an investigation into Alsco’s pollution of Piner Creek.  These violations were referred to the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office’s Environmental and Consumer Law Division for prosecution. 

Since the violations, Alsco has worked with Santa Rosa’s water inspectors to upgrade its facility to help reduce the potential for future pollution.  Further, Alsco reached an agreement with the District Attorney’s Office in which it has agreed to train employees at its Santa Rosa facility on methods to prevent illegal releases, to show proof of this training, and to pay civil penalties in the amount of $135,000 ($115,000 in investigative costs, and $20,000 to protect water quality in Piner Creek). 

  The case was investigated by staff from Santa Rosa’s Environmental Services Division, including: Patrick Pulis, Chris Murray, and Martin St. George from the Environmental Compliance team; Steve Brady from the Storm Water & Creeks team; and Warden Tiffany Wovek from the Department of Fish and Wildlife.  The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Ann Gallagher White with assistance from District Attorney Investigator Lisa Chapman. 


Contact Information

Joe Langenbahn
Media Coordinator
Office of the District Attorney
County of Sonoma
Contact us by Phone
600 Administration Drive
Room 212 J
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
38.466524, -122.726273