Nonprofit alleges Oregon city's facility is discharging polluted effluent into Rogue River

By Noddy A. Fernandez | May 23, 2018

MEDFORD, Ore. (Legal Newsline) – A regional nonprofit organization alleges an Oregon city is damaging a river with discharge from a water facility.

Northwest Environmental Advocates filed a complaint on May 16 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon, Medford Division against the city of Medford alleging violation of the Clean Water Act.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff alleges that the defendant has violated the terms of its wastewater discharge permit by discharging polluted effluent from its Regional Water Reclamation Facility to the downstream waters of the Rogue River. The plaintiff calls the river "a prized fishery and one of the crown jewels of the Wild and Scenic River System."

The plaintiff alleges the discharge has caused "detrimental changes" to the river, which include "excessive growth of nuisance algae, unnatural shifts in the macroinvertebrate community, and a visibly discolored foamy plume."

The plaintiff holds the city of Medford responsible because the defendant allegedly failed to comply with the duty to mitigate provision contained in its wastewater discharge permit.

The plaintiff requests a trial by jury and seeks to assess civil penalties against the defendant in the amount of $52,414 per day per violation, injunctive relief, award of reasonable costs of litigation, and grant such other relief as the court deems just and proper. It is represented by James Saul and Lia Comerford of Lewis & Clark Law Center in Portland, Oregon.

U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon, Medford Division vase number 1:18-cv-00856-CL

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