According to documents filed by Kingspan with the State Water Resources Control Board (part of CalEPA), Kingspan’s Santa Ana, Calif., factory directly discharges stormwater into the Santa Ana Delhi Channel and is subject to the regulations in place to protect the impaired waterbodies of the San Diego Creek Watershed and the Newport Bay Watershed. 

Kingspan’s Santa Ana pollution levels in stormwater discharges have exceeded allowable levels under the Clean Water Act every year since Kingspan received its first Industrial General Permit in 2018. In each of the last three years average samples contained 10x, 13x and 7x the permitted annual average numeric action levels (NALs) of the heavy metal Zinc. (NALs are benchmarks set by the EPA for controlling pollution into protected watersheds.) 

On June 30, 2020, the company requested a time extension from the Region 8 Water Board to develop an action plan to address the problem. This was a couple weeks after they were notified of the intent of the Orange County Coastkeepers to file suit for violations of the Clean Water Act. In August 2020 the Coastkeepers filed suit in the Central District of California federal court. Kingspan requested new extensions from the Water Board in September and again in November 2020. The company signed a consent decree in April 2021 with Coastkeepers and amended their request for more time again in May 2021. 

The largest expenditure in Kingspan’s current action plan is for an advanced treatment system that the company estimates will not be operational until October 2022, more than 2 years after the initial deadline of July 1, 2020. The company also blames delays on the city construction permit process, COVID-19 restrictions, and the large capital expense.