Arias Sanguinetti attorneys filed a lawsuit against C&H Sugar Inc., located in Crockett, CA. The company has sparked an uproar in nearby residential communities as “rotten egg” odors plague homeowners, decreasing their quality of life.
C&H Sugar Inc. operates a sugar refinery and wastewater treatment plant. According to the complaint, it releases noxious odors into the nearby community as a result of the waste sludge it produces called “mud”. Mud releases large quantities of hydrogen sulfide into the atmosphere, which is highly odiferous; hydrogen sulfide gas is easily identifiable by its characteristic “rotten egg” smell.
The complaint alleges that when the mud and other waste byproducts from the defendant’s facility are combined, the results of the mixture include extremely noxious odors to escape and permeate the surrounding residential areas.
There are more than 2,200 residential households located within one mile of the facility. Odor emissions have specifically prevented homeowners and community members from opening windows to get fresh air. They are also unable to enjoy their yards or decks because outdoor activities carry the risk of nausea from the smells.
“It’s inexcusable that community members have had to file more than 350 complaints to the Bay Area Air Quality Monitoring Division (BAAQMD) regarding the intense ’hydrogen sulfide’ and ’sewage’ odors. Until now, these unfortunate residents have had no recourse,” said Mike Arias, Managing Partner of Arias Sanguinetti.
According to the complaint, BAAQMD has issued a vast number of Notices of Violations (“NOV”) to C&H Sugar Inc. for odor nuisance and facility violations between September 15, 2022 and December 14, 2022.
The complaint also states that the invasion of the odor into nearby properties has adversely impacted the value of those properties, resulting in damages.
“Crockett homeowners are essentially losing property value all the while C&H Sugar Inc. has made no attempts to alleviate the situation at hand,” said Arnold C. Wang Partner at Arias Sanguinetti. “C&H Sugar Inc. is part of the community, and it cannot put profit over the wellbeing of other community members.”
Members of the public, including but not limited to businesses, employees, commuters, tourists, visitors, minors, customers, clients, and students, have also experienced and been harmed by the noxious odors emitted from the facility into public spaces.
“My hope is that Crockett community members and homeowners find some relief from the diminished quality of life that they’ve experienced in the past few years due to the negligence of C&H Sugar Inc.,” added Mr. Arias. “They should not feel confined to their homes without getting the basic human needs such as fresh air or the ability to step outside.”
The case is Freddy Gutierrez et al. v. C&H Sugar, USDC Northern District of California, Case No. 3:23-cv-03192. To read the complaint, click here.
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