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Resident Suing LB City Over Alleged Violation of Clean Water Act

A Long Beach resident is suing the city in regards to alleged violations of the Clean Water Act, citing that the city has failed to properly oversee leaks on connecting lines from its sewer system.

According to Newsday [paid link]:

       The lawsuit filed by Long Beach resident Michael Thomas claims the city is in violation of the Clean Water Act and seeks several forms of relief, including civil fines, a requirement that the city monitor storm water and discharges, and an injunction from further degradation of waterways.


Newsday has reported that notice of the suit was served on Oct. 17, prior to the arrival of Hurricane Sandy.

City Counsel Corey Klein asked Thomas and his lawyer to rethink the suit after Hurricane Sandy caused millions of dollars worth of damage in Long Beach, but Thomas decided to pursue the case and the suit was filed Dec. 24, Newsday reported.
Jack January 19, 2013 at 08:41 AM
Wht a shame- what about all of the environmental damage caused by the water run off from the storm? All the debri and muck got washed through the streets into the bay is a million times more than the sewer dischrge.
Beachguy January 19, 2013 at 10:34 AM
Just more evidence of governmental ineptitude
Eddie January 19, 2013 at 05:39 PM
How about getting a hobby instead of looking for more ways to make hard working taxpayers part with their money. You're right Wildman, but you were being nice.
Beachguy January 19, 2013 at 08:15 PM
Why aren't you people angry at the city for having leaking sewers instead of calling out the person trying to prevent harmful and dangerous conditions? For all we know the leakages could be affecting our drinking water, could be polluting our parks, could be making people sick. If you want leaky sewers move to India or some such place. I say shame on the city for allowing these conditions to get to a point where a lawsuit is needed to get them to do the right thing. But I'm not surprised in the least. Just look at how long the plant in East Rockaway dumped sewage into the bay before some people brought it to public attention. Maybe this will get the city to make things safe for it's residents.
Jack January 19, 2013 at 09:51 PM
More sewage was dumped into the waterways in a matter of 1 hour when Sorm Sandy engulfed Long Beach than was dumped from a storm drain malfunction in the summer. Put things in perspective dummy brain! Have you seen all the debri trapped in the sand pile on Broadway? This is a suit of opportunity to claim some remuneration to cover unperceived damages.
Eddie January 19, 2013 at 10:24 PM
Well lets see... our water comes from the Lloyd Aquifer that's about 2100 feet below us. It fell as rain 10,000 years ago. Took that long to filter thorough all the sand and clay to get down there. As I see it, my sewer lateral's leaky water will reach our drink water supply in about 10,000 years, and that's if the 2100 feet of sand filter doesn't clean it up. This is more Chicken Little eco-nonsense designed to cost me money and limit my rights on my own property.
Beachguy January 20, 2013 at 09:06 AM
Sorm Sandy? Debri? With middle school drop out spelling and sophomoric name calling this is not going to be a mature discussion. Time to get off the video games and back to your spelling lessons Jack.
Beachguy January 20, 2013 at 09:09 AM
Eddie-- if you can't see the harm in leaky sewers then I can't help you.
John January 20, 2013 at 10:17 AM
Eddie - you're basically spot on about the Lloyd and our drinking water. if he's suing on the grounds of the clean water act tho, we're talking surface waters. what I don't understand is how he's going to get 'standing' in the courts on those grounds. was he personally impacted? did he personally suffer a loss? it's increasing very difficult to establish individual standing in courts on broad environmental grounds. I want our waters safe as much as anyone, but this def reeks of the kind of person wildman referenced to start this thread off. if $ that's designated to rebuild our city gets diverted to this, the guy is going to have a ton of angry neighbors on his hands.
Eddie January 20, 2013 at 01:26 PM
John, he's looking for attention, and perhaps upset that no municipality is enforcing portions of the Act requiring inspection of private sewer lateral runouts. If he gets his way, the homeowner, not the City, will be saddled with the cost of inspection and repair as it is the homowner who owns the sewer laterals. The City would be faced with the enforcement costs.
Eddie January 20, 2013 at 02:10 PM
BeachGuy, most of Long Island uses septic tanks. Point Lookout uses septic tanks. Don't tell anyone, but some houses in the West End even use septic tanks. And you worry about a leak in a lateral? You are the one who can't be helped, because you lack the technical knowledge. Learn before you fret, my friend.
Beachguy January 20, 2013 at 06:41 PM
Well then can you start a movement to repeal the law if it's so ineffective and burdensome?
Jack January 20, 2013 at 08:49 PM
This guy has problems- maybe he is being used by a radical riverkeeper style environmental whacko group?
Beachguy January 20, 2013 at 10:20 PM
You're on to something Eddie. Let's get rid of the sewers and everyone , including commercial and large residential buildings, revert back to cesspools. also let's just drain all street runoff directly into the bay and ocean. And let's now lump the river keepers in with the surfers, hockey players and Snoopy. Why just look. There are all those dangerous fish back in the Hudson. Like striped bass. I think all our waterways should be like the Gowanus Canal. Just who do those stupid environmentalists think they are trying to rid the Hudson of all that mercury? Who cares if it gets into the fish? Big deal. I'm sure you agree
Eddie January 21, 2013 at 07:22 AM
You're not a homeowner, are you, Beachguy? Worrying about a leaking lateral drain is nonsense.
Beachguy January 21, 2013 at 07:50 AM
I'm not sure where this business about leaking lateral drains came from. It started with a person suing this extremely efficient City for some violation of The Clean Water Act. Are you shocked, yes shocked, that LB may have violated the law? That an unlawful situation was allowed to exist? Not here. It couldn't be. And yes I own a home more than 50% destroyed and I support anyone who is going to hold the City to account for doing anything that did or will cause the value of my home to fall any more , including negligent, inept conduct that contributed or contributes to a negative impact on the healthiness of the residents of this place.
Eddie January 21, 2013 at 09:24 AM
Okay Beachguy, now I have a lot of respect for you. Sorry to hear about your place being destroyed. We all look at things a bit differently, and yes, I too am concerned about the environment. Our disagreement here may come from not knowing all the facts about this lateral sewer issue. Let me pass along what I know. The sewer "connections" or laterals are the house drains owned by the homeowner, which run from the house to the city sewer in the street. Does yours leak? Who knows. Yours may be iron, clay, plastic or oiled cardboard. The "oiled cardboard" was the best. Coal Tar Impregnated Wood Fibre Pipe -- called "Orangeburg" is quite a prize. Lots of it used in the West End. It was real cheap. Anyway, all were used over the years. When is the last time you checked yours for leaks? Maybe the joints between those tarpaper pipes are leaking a bit after 90 years. What this suit is about is that the City never demanded homeowners dig up their sewer laterals and have them inspected for leaks and repair those leaks. Beachguy, your house is 50% destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. Do you really want to be sued to dig up your sewer lateral for inspection right now? Figure on spending about $5,000 plus any repairs. By the way, since you are an environmentalist, I'm sure you did this regularly anyway. How about posting the letter your plumber gave you that shows your lateral was inspected. Now do you see where I'm coming from?
John January 21, 2013 at 09:32 AM
@eddie - do you know for sure that's what this suit is all about? I've been trying to find out more about it with little success. thanks.
Beachguy January 21, 2013 at 09:59 AM
If what you say is correct I agree with you. But I havnt seen exactly what it's all about.
Eddie January 21, 2013 at 10:19 AM
I haven't read the suit, but lateral inspection is a Clean Water Act mandate that every municipality has failed to enforce, along with back flow protection, lead paint mitigation and a host of other well intended, non funded mandates for villages and homeowners. The Feds continue pumping out laws (actually regulations that never see any vote) that cripple business, taxpayers and commerce. Our local governments, in many cases are our first defense against much of this nonsense because they simply ignore them. If you want to see what this lawsuit can take out of your pocket, you need only look to San Fransisco's regulations. Mandatory inspections, Certificates of Compliance, repair liens, etc. Here's a link if you really care and have a lot of time on your hands: http://www.ssf.net/DocumentCenter/Home/View/3487
Beachguy January 21, 2013 at 07:56 PM
Eddie-- let's wait and see exactly what the suit is all about before a debate commences. Yes the government can over react and impose stifling regulations. no doubt about it. but on the other side of the coin greedy, selfish businesses have poisoned the waterways, the air and sometimes the food we eat. The job is to strike a balance . That's the hard part.

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