Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

United States v. Alder Creek Water Co.

Citation: 14 ELR 20430
No. No. 79-1090-JU, 21 ERC 1300/(D. Or., 04/23/1984) Ruling on SDWA liability

The court rules that defendants' repeated violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) demonstrate the willfulness required under § 1414(b) of the Act for imposition of civil penalties. The court rules that plaintiff need not prove defendants had a "bad purpose" to establish "willfulness" under § 1414. Plaintiff merely needs to show a careless disregard amounting to plain indifference. The court finds that the defendants violated the SDWA and its implementing regulations over 1,000 times in a three-year period, and holds the pattern of violations to be sufficient evidence of willfulness to permit assessment of civil penalties, despite defendants' arguments that they acted as reasonably as possible to conform to the Act. The court grants summary judgment and assesses penalties totaling $6,200 for those violations alleged by plaintiff and unrefuted by defendants.

[A digest of an earlier ruling in this case is published at 13 ELR 20989 — Ed.]

Counsel for Plaintiff
Thomas C. Lee, Ass't U.S. Attorney
312 U.S. Cthse., 620 SW Main St., Portland OR 97205
(503) 221-2101

Counsel for Defendants
S. Ward Green
McMenamin, Joseph, Babener, Greene & Perris
729 SW Alder St., Portland OR 97205
(503) 298-2668

Stephen F. Crew
O'Donnell Sullivan & Ramis
1727 NW Hoyt St., Portland OR 97209
(503) 222-4402

Michael E. Judd, Ass't Cty. Counsel, Clackamas Cty.
906 E. Main St., Oregon City OR 97045
(503) 655-8362