Question: 1 Did Gaston escape a substantial civil fine based on

1. Did Gaston escape a substantial civil fine based on a statutory technicality?
2. What could Friends have included in the notice letter that might help them prevail in a future case where the true extent of the violations is unknown?

Gaston owned a metals smelting facility in South Carolina and operated it until 1995. After 1995, Gaston continued to treat contaminated storm water at the facility and to release this treated water into a lake on Gaston's property. However the lake’s water overflow discharged into other waterways and spread pollutants that resulted from the contact of rainwater with scrap metal stored by Gaston on its property. Friends of the Earth (Friends) are an environmental citizen action group whose members include owners of property affected by the Gaston pollutants. Friends sent Gaston the statutorily required notice letter that alleged violations of the Clean Water Act. Friends brought a citizen suit and Gaston was fined $2.3 million.

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  • CreatedNovember 06, 2014
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