Description: Citizen suit alleging violations of the Clean Water Act at the Henrico County Water Reclamation Facility.
Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Inc. v. County of Henrico
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 04/11/2022 Memorandum Opinion Download Motion to dismiss granted with regard to civil penalties and denied with regard to injunctive relief. Climate Change and Precipitation Trends Cited as Reason for Allowing Clean Water Act Citizen Suit to Proceed. The federal district court for the Eastern District of Virginia allowed two environmental organizations to proceed with claims for injunctive relief in a citizen suit alleging violations of the Clean Water Act at the Henrico County Water Reclamation Facility. The court found that the plaintiffs “sufficiently alleged a state of intermittent violation” at the facility over a period of almost three decades and noted that the County and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality “themselves appear to express doubt that the effluent limit violations remain wholly in the past.” In particular, the court cited the County’s acknowledgement that certain violations coincided with “wet weather conditions” and the County’s assertion that this challenge was “compounded by the recent effects of climate change, including more frequent severe weather events and increased amounts of precipitation.” The court wrote that “[s]uch trends suggest to the Court that Henrico may yet violate its effluent limitation limits in the intervening years” before completion of required upgrades to manage increased precipitation. The court found that these “reasonable doubts as to future compliance” were sufficient to conclude that violations were not “wholly past” and that the County remained in violation of Clean Water Act standards. 01/26/2022 Reply Download Reply brief filed by the County in support of motion to dismiss. 01/20/2022 Opposition Download Brief filed by plaintiffs in opposition to defendant's motion to dismiss. 01/06/2022 Motion to Dismiss Download Motion to dismiss filed by the County. 12/06/2021 Complaint Download Complaint filed.