Camp Pendleton has struck a deal with an environmental group to reduce sewage spills from the Marine Corps base in northern San Diego County.
Under the settlement agreement reached this week, the base pledged to limit the number of spills to 10 or less per year by 2017 and to notify environmentalists of spills that force beach closures.
“The settlement is an excellent agreement that gets Camp Pendleton to reduce its sewage spills over the next five years to protect human health and the environment,” said Jill Witkowski of Coastkeeper told UT San Diego in Saturday's editionS.
Base officials also planned to step up inspections of the maze of sewage lines and repair aging pipes, Witkowski told the newspaper.
The group sued Camp Pendleton in 2011, saying spills from the sprawling military base harm water quality in waterways and beaches. The lawsuit claimed the base repeatedly violated the Clean Water Act and cited some two dozen spills between 2006 and 2010 that led to 400,000 gallons of untreated sewage reaching waterways.
At the time the suit was filed, Coastkeeper had been working with Camp Pendleton to remedy the problem and to get to the root cause of the spills. The group had sought an injunction, but the settlement effectively ends the litigation.
In a statement, the base noted it was committed to upgrading its facilities to prevent spills.
Camp Pendleton, home to 42,000 troops, “has made significant improvements in its wastewater systems during the past decade,” the statement said. “We look forward to working with Coastkeeper to meet the standards set in the decree.”
This was not the first legal action by Coastkeeper against Camp Pendleton. The group sued the base over its sewage system in 2001 and base officials agreed to fix the problems. But Coastkeeper claimed the spills continued.