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Group Sues Monterey County Water Resources Agency Over Polluted Runoff

Publication Date: 
October 28, 2010
Source: 
Monterey County Herald
Author: 
Danielle Venton

Deborah A. Sivas, professor of environmental law and director of the Environmental Law Clinic at the Stanford Law School, is quoted by the Monterey County Herald in the following story on clean water and health standards:

A lawsuit by an environmental group claims the Monterey County Water Resources Agency is illegally allowing polluted irrigation water to flow into the Salinas River and Elkhorn Slough.

The contaminated water violates public health standards, the suit charges, and poses a threat to humans, fish and wildlife.

The Monterey Coastkeeper, a program of The Otter Project, a local nonprofit organization, filed suit against the county last week in Monterey County Superior Court. It is the first lawsuit to take action against a county agency in an attempt to enforce state water standards, said Deborah Sivas of the Environmental Law Clinic at Stanford, lead lawyer for the plaintiff.

"The agency is facilitating taking clean water, turning it into dirty water and then releasing it, untreated," said Sivas. "We think they need to be held accountable to the state water quality standards. Obviously, we're not going to stop fertilizer and pesticide use, but I think there are ways we can be more conservative about it."