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Environmental Defense Center v. Ventura Regional Sanitation District

United States District Court, C.D. California

June 1, 2017

ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE CENTER, a non-profit corporation, Plaintiff,
v.
VENTURA REGIONAL SANITATION DISTRICT, a public agency, Defendant.

          [PROPOSED] CONSENT DECREE

         CONSENT DECREE

         WHEREAS, Plaintiff Environmental Defense Center ("EDC") is a non-profit public benefit corporation and law firm dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of the local environment primarily within Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo Counties through education, advocacy, and legal action;

         WHEREAS, Defendant Ventura Regional Sanitation District ("VRSD") is a public waste management agency, formed and authorized pursuant to California Health & Safety Code § 4700 et seq., that operates the Toland Road Landfill, a municipal solid waste landfill facility located at 3500 Toland Road in Santa Paula, CA ("Facility"). EDC and VRSD are collectively referred to herein as the "Parties";

         WHEREAS, storm water discharges associated with industrial activity at the Facility are regulated pursuant to the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System ("NPDES") General Permit No. CAS000001 [State Water Resources Control Board], Water Quality Order No. 92-12-DWQ (as amended by Water Quality Order 97-03-DWQ and as subsequently amended by Water Quality Order No. 2014-0057-DWQ) (hereinafter the "Permit"), issued pursuant to Section 402 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act ("Clean Water Act" or "the Act"), 33 U.S.C. §1342;

         WHEREAS, the Permit includes the following requirements for all permittees, including VRSD: 1) develop and implement a storm water pollution prevention plan ("SWPPP"); 2) control pollutant discharges using best available technology economically achievable ("BAT") and best conventional pollutant control technology ("BCT") to prevent or reduce pollutants; 3) implement BAT and BCT through the development and application of Best Management Practices ("BMPs"), which must be included and updated in the SWPPP; and 4) when necessary, implement additional BMPs to prevent or reduce any pollutants that are causing or contributing to any exceedance of water quality standards;

         WHEREAS, on May 3, 2016, EDC served VRSD, the Clerk of VRSD's Board, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA"), the Executive Director of the State Water Resources Control Board ("State Board"), the Executive Officer of the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board ("Regional Board"), the U.S. Attorney General, and the Regional Administrator of the EPA (Region 9) with a notice of intent to file suit ("60-Day Notice") under Sections 505(a)(1) and (f) of the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. § 1365(b)(1)(A), alleging violations of the Act and the Permit at the Facility;

         WHEREAS, EDC filed a complaint ("Complaint") against VRSD in the United States District Court, Central District Court of California on July 27, 2016, entitled Environmental Defense Center v. Ventura Regional Sanitation District (Case No. 2:16-cv-05607-VAP-FFM);

         WHEREAS, EDC contends in its 60-Day Notice and Complaint that, among other things, VRSD has repeatedly discharged polluted storm water in violation of the Permit and the Clean Water Act:

         WHEREAS, VRSD denies all allegations set forth in the 60-Day Notice and Complaint and contends that EDC's Complaint should be dismissed;

         WHEREAS, VRSD, whenever there is sufficient storm water flow, has sampled water upstream from the Facility during storm events and has measured high levels of pollutants in said water; and

         WHEREAS, VRSD has made plans to make significant investments and improvements to the Facility's storm water pollution prevention plan;

         WHEREAS, the Parties, through their authorized representatives and without either adjudication of EDC's claims or any admission by VRSD of any alleged violation or other wrongdoing, believe it is in their mutual interest and choose to resolve in full EDC's allegations in the 60-Day Notice and Complaint through settlement and avoid the cost and uncertainties of further litigation;

         NOW THEREFORE IT IS HEREBY STIPULATED BETWEEN THE PARTIES, AND ORDERED AND DECREED BY THE COURT, AS FOLLOWS:

         I. COMMITMENTS OF VRSD

         1. In order to reduce or prevent pollutants associated with industrial activity from discharging via storm water to the waters of the United States, VRSD shall implement appropriate structural and non-structural BMPs, as required by the Permit, as described more fully below.

         2. Maintenance of Implemented Storm Water Controls. VRSD agrees that the Facility shall maintain in good working order all storm water collection and management systems currently installed or to be installed pursuant to this Consent Decree, including but not limited to, existing housekeeping measures.

         3. Improvements to Detention Basin.

a. In order to increase the capacity and improve the performance of the main storm water detention basin at the Facility, by April 1, 2017, VRSD shall raise the riser or intake pipe by at least 5 feet.
b. In order to help drain or discharge cleaner and clearer storm water collected in the main storm water detention basin from the top rather than the bottom, by April 1, 2017, VRSD shall place and put into operation two sets of floating skimmers at different heights within the main storm water detention basin to accomplish that goal.
c. In order to allow for more time for storm water to settle in the main storm water detention basin, by April 1, 2017, VRSD shall plug the existing French drain outlet in the main storm water detention basin by capping the pipe with a blind flange.
d. Within fourteen (14) days of each of the above storm water pollution prevention program improvements, VRSD shall e-mail EDC digital photographs confirming said improvements.

         4. Improvements to Slow Velocity of Storm Water Leading ...


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