Read the article Appellate court upholds curbs on runoff pollution

This is based on an article written by:
Terry Rodgers,
STAFF WRITER - San Diego Union Tribune
December 8, 2004

Read the article The following quoted and paraphrased text regards a ruling by the 4th District Court of Appeal that rejected the arguments offered by the San Diego Building Industry Association, which contended that urban runoff restrictions adopted by San Diego Regional Quality Control Board in 2001 exceeded the state's authority under the federal Clean Water Act.

The legal battle involved the issue of whether the State's regional water quality agency can require developers and local governments to do whatever is necessary to achieve measurable reductions in the pollutant loads from urban runoff in order to achieve the minimum State standards for swimming and wildlife. Attorneys for developers argued that federal law allows compliance as long as there are efforts "to the maximum extent practicable" to reduce pollutants, even if those efforts fail. Under the rules, developers must install storm-drain filters, silt-removal basins and other so-called "best management practices (BMPs)" that are intended to reduce bacteria, nutrients, sediment, oils and greases, heavy metals and other pollutants from being flushed to public waters in addition to establishing public education programs and increasing inspections at constructions sites, culverts, ditches and catch basins. Duluth and other so-called MS4's in the region are similarly regulated by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

The counter argument by developers is that the ruling will cause housing costs to escalate and place a financial burden on local governments to solve a problem that is better addressed regionally in a private-public partnership. They also contented that the stringent storm water rules could cause severe financial problems and a possible "shut down" of local government operations.

The appellate court ruling would allow the state's eight other regional water-quality boards to adopt the same tough regulations and could have a ripple effect beyond California's borders. It is whether the ruling would be appealed to the California Supreme Court.