[env-trinity] Shasta County and Redding settle CSPA lawsuit over storm runoff from Igo dump
Mark Dowdle - TCRCD
mdowdle at tcrcd.net
Tue Dec 14 10:52:17 PST 2010
*County, Redding settle for $80,000*
*Redding Record Searchlight-12/13/10 *
*By Scott Mobley *
Shasta County and the city of Redding have agreed to settle an
environmental lawsuit for $80,000 and increased pollution control.
The Stockton-based California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA)
lawsuit targets stormwater runoff from the West-Central Landfill near
Igo. The county owns the dump, and the city manages its daily operation.
The lawsuit accuses Redding officials of failing to adequately monitor
stormwater runoff flowing from the dump into Sacramento River
tributaries for pollutants.
The city and county acknowledged no wrongdoing in agreeing to the
proposed settlement with CSPA. Two federal agencies and the U.S.
District Court still must approve the agreement.
As part of the settlement, Redding and Shasta County will contribute
$30,000 to the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment, an
Oakland-based nonprofit, for projects to improve water quality
downstream from the dump.
The city and county also will pay $32,500 of attorney fees and
contribute $17,500 for water-quality-compliance monitoring.
Pat Minturn, Shasta County public works director, called the lawsuit a
minor expense that will have no impact on utility rates or tipping fees
at the dump.
CSPA claims about 2,000 members who live and fish in California. The
nonprofit maintains an enforcement wing that looks for stormwater permit
violations that could lower water quality and damage fisheries in the
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
CSPA has filed a couple of dozen suits against private firms and
government agencies over compliance with the federal Clean Water Act,
said Andrew Packard, a Petaluma-based attorney representing the group.
The Redding-Shasta County settlement is fairly typical of agreements the
group reaches, he said.
"In a sense it's a win-win," Packard said. "We can avoid much more
expensive litigation, they are brought into compliance with the Clean
Water Act and they make a contribution to a third-party water group that
benefits the environment."
City and county officials said they have always monitored stormwater
runoff at West Central, and no pollutants escape from the dump into
nearby Dry Creek, which flows into Cottonwood Creek and, ultimately, the
Still, the city and county will beef up monitoring at West Central and
take further steps to keep spills from reaching the Sacramento River
under the proposed lawsuit settlement, Minturn said.
"We believe we were in compliance," Minturn said. "But there is always
room for improvement and clarification."
CSPA had zeroed in on the transfer station at the dump as a potential
source of river contamination. Customers throw their trash into four
Local officials have agreed to create berms around the transfer station
directing storm runoff to a sampling station that will monitor for any
oil, paint or other types of spills, Minturn said.
Officials will install a litter filter and water-oil separator at the
monitoring point to catch any potential contaminants from the transfer
station, he said.
"The landfill's larger program took care of these spills, and they never
went into the creek," Minturn said. "But we felt there was an
opportunity to tighten up that operation. We were willing to make
improvements to address (CSPA's) concerns."
The county already has built the berms around the transfer station,
Minturn said. The water-oil separator will cost about $10,000.
The agreement requires stormwater monitoring beyond the lab testing
already performed, Minturn said. Officials must sample runoff during
four storm days each year and meet with CSPA officers from time to time
to discuss results during the next five years to ensure compliance.
The settlement also calls for added erosion control at the dump and
directs officials to remove windblown trash from the transfer station
twice a week.#
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