CSPA settles Clean Water Act lawsuit against Chico Airport

On 10 December 2010, CSPA settled a Clean Water Act lawsuit against the City of Chico and its municipal airport regarding serious violations of the California General Industrial Stormwater Permit.  The 1,079-acre airport includes approximately 30-acres associated with industrial activity.  The industrial area discharges pollutants to tributaries of Sycamore Creek, which flows into Big Chico Creek and ultimately the Sacramento River and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  

A 60-day notice letter of intent to sue was sent in April 2010 and a lawsuit was filed in federal court in June 2010.  The actions alleged that the facility illegally discharges excessive concentrations of pollutants in violation of their stormwater permit and the Clean Water Act.  The Chico Airport also failed to develop, implement and update an adequate Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP), Best Available and Best Conventional Treatment Technologies and an adequate monitoring and reporting plan.

The Settlement Agreement has been submitted to the court as an enforceable Consent Decree and to the U.S. Department of Justice for review.  It obligates the City and Airport to: 1) comply fully with the applicable requirements of the General Permit and Clean Water Act; 2) implement a suite of Best Management and Housekeeping Practices; 3) develop and implement a number of structural improvements; 4) conduct more frequent, comprehensive monitoring during rain events, and 5) prepare an adequate SWPPP.  The agreement incorporates  “Meet & Confer” provisions that allow CSPA to return to court for enforcement if pollutant benchmarks continue to be exceeded and the parties cannot agree on additional measures to be implemented.

As mitigation for past violations, the City of Chico and its Airport agreed to send $18,000 to the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment to fund environmental projects that will improve water quality in Sycamore Creek, Big Chico Creek and/or the Sacramento River.  They also agreed to reimburse CSPA’s costs of bringing suit plus funds to oversee implementation of the agreement.

The Law Offices of Andrew Packard and Jackson & Tuerck represented CSPA in this matter.   Settlement Agreement

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