Judge Favors Environmental Groups in Stormwater Runoff Suit

In Los Angeles, a Superior Court judge rejected an effort by a coalition of cities and developers to prevent a countywide stormwater cleanup plan that would reduce the largest source of pollution along California's coast.

On Friday, the judge ruled in favor of the Regional Water Quality Control Board and three conservation groups that intervened in the lawsuit which had five other lawsuits brought by a group of developers and cities.

The county's cleanup plan employs new measures such as detailed inspections of industrial facilities and the use of drain filters and silt-removal basins to cut the amount of storm water runoff to the state's coastline.

Howard Gest, an attorney who represented the plaintiffs, said it was too early to know whether the county or any of the cities in Los Angeles County would file an appeal.

Gest added that the stormwater cleanup plan was in place and his clients would continue to abide by it.

The judge rejected the argument that the state's water quality standards did not apply to polluted runoff, but only to sewage treatment plants and pollution from factories.

In addition, the court found that the costs of complying with the plan's requirements were reasonable and that regulators carefully considered "economics in testimony, comment letters, local studies, national studies, EPA reports, and self-reported costs from (cities)."

The Associated Press

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