The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has agreed to pay $13.5 million and reroute drainage from Highway 1 into the Presidio’s Mountain Lake in San Francisco to settle claims by the United States for breach of a 1938 permit that authorized Caltrans to construct Highway 1 through the Presidio. United States v. Cal. Dep’t of Transp., No. 09-437 (N.D. Cal. lodged 11/10/11).  

Under the terms of the proposed consent decree, Caltrans will pay $5.5 million to the United States to remediate contaminated sediment in Mountain Lake and $4 million to reconfigure the Mountain Lake overflow pipe. It will also pay $500,000 for the Presidio Trust’s legal costs and an estimated $3.5 million to fund and construct a runoff diversion project “so that contaminants from Highway 1 will no longer enter Mountain Lake.”

The proposed agreement would resolve a January 2009 lawsuit that alleged runoff from Highway 1 contaminated Mountain Lake sediment with lead, copper, zinc, and other toxic substances and that the highway drainage facilities needed repair or replacement. It also resolves claims that Caltrans breached the 1938 permit that required the agency to bear all costs and liabilities associated with the highway. The proposed consent decree will be subject to a 30-day public comment period and court approval.