Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

Connecticut Fund for the Env't v. Raymark Indus., Inc.

ELR Citation: 16 ELR 20727
Nos. No. H-83-1081 (JAC), 631 F. Supp. 1283/(D. Conn., 03/31/1986)

In a Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA) citizen suit, the court holds that liability can arise for excessive discharges into a polishing lagoon prior to discharge into navigable waters and that four-hour composite samples are sufficiently accurate measurements of average daily concentrations established in defendant's national pollutant discharge elimination system (NPDES) permit. The court first rules that a citizen suit may be brought to enforce any NPDES permit condition and not just those conditions controlling effluent immediately prior to discharge into navigable waters. The court rejects defendant's argument that liability under the FWPCA can only arise from discharges directly into navigable waters. The court holds that excessive discharges into defendant's polishing lagoon, where waste materials were treated prior to release into navigable waters, are sufficient for liability to arise. Accepting defendant's argument would frustrate the congressional intent of expeditious citizen suit enforcement of NPDES violations, as it would require the court to reanalyze technological factors in defendant's NPDES permit. The court next holds that a general condition in defendant's permit allowing the use of four-hour composite samples as a measurement of average daily concentration is valid. Defendant consistently used this method of measurement and conceded at oral argument that the state may validly include such general conditions in NPDES permits. Moreover, analyzing defendant's claim that four-hour composite samples insufficiently measure average daily concentrations would require the court to address the accuracy of NPDES monitoring procedures, a form of technological reanalysis frowned on by Congress in the legislative history. Finally, defendant did not bring an administrative challenge to the monitoring procedures nor did it augment its minimally authorized NPDES monitoring processes with more accurate sampling.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
James Thornton
Natural Resources Defense Council
122 E. 42nd St., New York NY 10168
(212) 949-0049

Katherine H. Robinson
Connecticut Fund for the Environment
32 Grand St., Hartford CT 06106
(203) 524-1639

Counsel for Defendant
S. Robert Jelley
Wiggin & Dana
195 Church St., P.O. Box 1832, New Haven CT 06508
(203) 789-1511