CSPA settles lawsuit against Vallejo School District for illegal pollution of Napa River and San Francisco Bay

On 5 May 2011, CSPA settled a Clean Water Act lawsuit against the Vallejo School District regarding serious violations of the California General Industrial Stormwater Permit.  The school district operates a vehicle and equipment maintenance facility in Vallejo, California.  Stormwater runoff discharges to the Vallejo storm drain system that empties into Austin Creek and thence the Napa River and San Francisco Bay.

A 60-day notice letter of intent to sue was sent in January 2010 and a lawsuit was filed in federal court on April 2010.  The actions alleged that the facility illegally discharged excessive concentrations of numerous pollutants in violation of their stormwater permit and the Clean Water Act.  The school district also failed to develop, implement and update: 1) Best Available and Best Conventional Treatment Technologies; 2) an adequate Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP); and 3) an adequate monitoring and reporting plan.  It also accused the operators of falsely certifying compliance in their annual reports.

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 school district 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.

Lozeau/Drury LLP represented CSPA in this matter.  Settlement

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