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Pollution controls weakened by water agency

"This amendment says that trying is enough — it gives an 'A' for effort."

San Diego storm drain
San Diego storm drain

Local water-quality activists are protesting what they say is a weakening of pollution controls on water runoff in storm drains by the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Last month, the board added a "safe harbor" amendment to municipal stormwater permits covering San Diego County, its 18 cities, the port and airport districts, and portions of Orange and Riverside counties. The amendment, according to water-quality watchdog San Diego Coastkeeper, "protects permit holders from accountability for water quality pollution, as long as they have a plan to improve water quality."

"This amendment says that trying is enough — it gives an 'A' for effort," a release quotes Matt O'Malley, a “waterkeeper” with the organization. "The Regional Board’s action last month was an unfortunate step backwards in efforts to improve water quality."

Now, Coastkeeper and the Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation have filed a petition with the California State Water Resources Control Board, asking state authorities to step in and overturn what they say is an illegal policy allowing municipalities to continue polluting.

"We don’t want to give water polluters a pass just for saying they will prevent pollution from reaching San Diego’s waters — we want to reward actual results," adds foundation attorney Livia Borak. "Our petition to the state board asks the governing agency to overturn this illogical and unlawful provision."

According to the groups, pollution from runoff is one of the biggest contributors to poor water quality in San Diego, responsible for beach closures following heavy rains and poor health ratings for local streams and other water bodies.

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San Diego storm drain
San Diego storm drain

Local water-quality activists are protesting what they say is a weakening of pollution controls on water runoff in storm drains by the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Last month, the board added a "safe harbor" amendment to municipal stormwater permits covering San Diego County, its 18 cities, the port and airport districts, and portions of Orange and Riverside counties. The amendment, according to water-quality watchdog San Diego Coastkeeper, "protects permit holders from accountability for water quality pollution, as long as they have a plan to improve water quality."

"This amendment says that trying is enough — it gives an 'A' for effort," a release quotes Matt O'Malley, a “waterkeeper” with the organization. "The Regional Board’s action last month was an unfortunate step backwards in efforts to improve water quality."

Now, Coastkeeper and the Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation have filed a petition with the California State Water Resources Control Board, asking state authorities to step in and overturn what they say is an illegal policy allowing municipalities to continue polluting.

"We don’t want to give water polluters a pass just for saying they will prevent pollution from reaching San Diego’s waters — we want to reward actual results," adds foundation attorney Livia Borak. "Our petition to the state board asks the governing agency to overturn this illogical and unlawful provision."

According to the groups, pollution from runoff is one of the biggest contributors to poor water quality in San Diego, responsible for beach closures following heavy rains and poor health ratings for local streams and other water bodies.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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