The California Sportfishing Protection Alliance has filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Sacramento Area Sewer District and Sacramento County alleging that ongoing sewer overflows polluted local waterways with sewage and associated treatment chemicals. Cal. Sportfishing Prot. Alliance v. County of Sacramento, No. N/A (E.D. Cal. filed 3/1/11). The complaint charges violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and claims that uncontrolled sewage overflows threaten the entire Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, which is a primary source of fresh water for two-thirds of California residents as well as a fishing and recreation center.
The collection system consists of approximately 4,363 miles of pipeline and collects sewage from more than 1 million people in Sacramento County and the cities of Sacramento, Elk Grove, Rancho Cordova, Folsom, and Citrus Heights. According to the complaint, since December 2005, the county and sewer district have had more than 6,000 sewage overflows from the collection system, and at least 1,770 of those overflows reached waters of rivers and streams due to the defendants’ failure to adequately operate, maintain, repair, and replace the system. The lawsuit seeks a declaration that the county and sewer district have violated the CWA and their discharge permits, and seeks an injunction against further overflows, as well as legal fees.