1997 News Releases
CALTRANS AGREES TO PREVENT STORM RUNOFF POLLUTION IN SAN DIEGO
Release Date: 12/17/1997
Contact Information: Dave Schmidt, U.S. EPA, (415) 744-1578
STATE AGENCY ALSO TO PAY $430,000 PENALTY; RESTORE WETLAND
(San Francisco)--The U.S. Department of Justice, on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), together with two environmental groups, have reached a settlement with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) in which Caltrans agrees to protect San Diego County's streams, wetlands and coastline from polluted stormwater runoff flowing from highways and Caltrans maintenance facilities. Caltrans also agreed to restore a wetland and pay a $430,000 penalty to settle alleged violations of the Clean Water Act's stormwater requirements. The agreement, signed by U.S. EPA, San Diego Baykeeper, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and Caltrans, was lodged in the U.S. District Court in San Diego.
"Stormwater runoff is one of the biggest sources of pollution contaminating the nation's rivers, beaches, and other waterways," said Felicia Marcus, regional administrator for U.S. EPA's western region. "This agreement will mean cleaner runoff from Caltrans' extensive road system in San Diego County. We are pleased to have joined the San Diego Baykeeper and the NRDC in bringing this action to such a successful resolution, and we look forward to continuing to work with Caltrans in complying with their environmental obligations."
"This settlement is a great example of our nation's environmental laws working to make a real difference in people's lives," said Lois Schiffer, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Justice Department's Environmental and Natural Resources Division. "Combatting pollution from stormwater runoff is a top priority for the Justice Department and U.S. EPA."
Under the settlement, Caltrans has agreed to improve its existing storm water management system by conducting better storm drain maintenance, pilot testing retrofits for existing highways, and improving practices at its maintenance yards. Caltrans also will improve soil stabilization and erosion control, enhance environmental design features of future road projects, and provide pollution prevention training for its employees. As part of the settlement, Caltrans will help to purchase approximately 1.25 acres of former wetland adjacent to the Tijuana Estuary, remove fill material that had been deposited there in the 1970's, and restore it as a wetland.
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