CSPA Seeks to Protect Sacramento River from High Temperature and Toxic Metal Wastewater Discharges

In January 2013, CSPA filed a lawsuit against the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (Regional Board) for violations of the Clean Water Act in issuing a permit to the Sacramento Regional Sanitation District (SacRegional) for wastewater discharges to the Sacramento River. CSPA prevailed and, in October 2014, the Court ordered the Regional Board to 1) vacate the relaxation of compliance with the state’s Thermal Plan, 2) vacate portions of the permit that improperly established discharge limits for hardness dependent metals and establish new limits that comply with regulatory requirements and 3) establish a weekly effluent limitation for aluminum in the permit.

The permit regulates the discharge of up the 181 million gallons a day of treated municipal wastewater into a relatively narrow reach of the Sacramento River that is within the tidal prism and habitat and a migration corridor for numerous pelagic and anadromous fish species. Numerous species listed or proposed to be listed, pursuant to state and federal Endangered Species Acts, depend upon these waters for all or a critical part of their life cycle.

The Regional Board delayed complying with the Court’s order. CSPA returned to Court and secured an order directing the Regional Board to comply by 31 July 2015. The Regional Board subsequently issued a draft permit that evades complying with explicit regulatory requirements. CSPA submitted extensive comments on the draft permit on 19 June 2015, will be present at the Regional Board hearing on 30/30 July and should the Regional Board adopt the permit as drafted, CSPA intends to return to Court and request sanctions against the Regional Board.

CSPA Comment Letter

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