[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 
bins there.

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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