CSPA Action Alert May 26, 2010
CSPA has settled its Sanitary Sewer Overflow Lawsuit against El Dorado Irrigation District
May 26, 2010 -- CSPA issued a notice of intent to sue against El Dorado Irrigation (EID) for violations of the federal Clean Water Act on 27 October 2009. A lawsuit was filed on 8 January 2010 and alleged numerous illegal sewage spills, overflows and discharges from EID's sewage and collection and treatment systems serving the communities of Cameron Park, Deer Creek and Motherlode. The systems discharged to creeks tributary to the Consumes Rivers and thence the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Sewage spills and overflows are serious health and environmental hazards. Untreated sewage can contain numerous dangerous chemical solvents, heavy metals like lead and mercury and wastes that can impair immune and reproductive systems of fish and wildlife. Pathogens in untreated sewage can cause a multitude of illnesses in humans. Local residents may be exposed to these pathogens when recreating or fishing in waterways, as well as when sewage spills into homes, streets, parks, schools and businesses
Following extended settlement negotiations, a settlement was reached on 25 May 2010. The Consent Agreement that will be filed with the U.S. District Court and review by the U.S. Department of Justice requires EID to:
- Undertake all necessary steps to reduce sanitary sewer overflows to the state average of 5 per 100 miles of collection system by 2015.
- Implement numerous improvements to reduce releases of recycled water from the recycled water distribution system.
- Comply with the receiving water limit for temperature in the EID wastewater permit.
- Provide CSPA with all documentation regarding updates to the Sanitary Sewer Overflow Reduction Action Plan. It establishes a process for CSPA to evaluate proposed changes and provide comments and provides for both formal and informal dispute resolution processes. If necessary, CSPA can return to the court to seek enforcement of the agreement.
- Reimburse CSPA $120,000 for costs of bringing suit and provide up to $7,500 annually for CSPA's consultants to review and comment on EID's annual reports and/or SSO reduction action plans.
- Provide $120,000 as mitigation for previous violations. Mitigation funds will be sent to the Rose Foundation for a Better Environment and used to fund water quality improvement projects in the Consumes River watershed and Sacramento San Joaquin Bay-Delta Estuary.
Lozeau Drury LLP and Lawyers for Clean Water represented CSPA in this matter.