Bacterial Pollution From Sewage Is Actionable Under Clean Water Act—In Case You Missed It
Oakland, CA—San Francisco Baykeeper, in February 2020, filed legal actions under the Clean Water Act against the cities of Sunnyvale and Mountain View. The cities both have antiquated and failing sewage and stormwater control systems, over a century old in some locations, which are spreading bacterial pollution into the Bay and surrounding communities. Water samples from the cities taken by Baykeeper contained bacterial pollution at levels 50 times higher than the legal limits, and revealed especially dangerous levels of E. Coli from raw sewage.
Sunnyvale and Mountain View requested that the suits be dismissed, but late in December, the federal court denied those requests.
In response, Baykeeper attorney Nicole Sasaki released the following statement:
"The cities and towns where we live are responsible for maintaining functioning sewage and stormwater control systems, and when these systems fail, dumping pollution and raw sewage into the Bay and our communities, then they have to fix the problem. The courts were right to deny Sunnyvale and Mountain View's requests to dismiss Baykeeper's suits.
"Now, Sunnyvale and Mountain View need to do the right thing. Rather than squander taxpayer dollars on fighting expensive lawsuits, they should simply spend that money fixing broken sewer pipes and giving their residents the services they expect—Bay-friendly infrastructure that captures pollutants before they enter storm drains, regardless of their source. That would be a win all around: for the health of the people, and the health of the Bay."