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District Court Approves Consent Decree to End Litigation Against City of San Juan Capistrano

Updated: Mar 21, 2019

Santa Ana, California

A rider and horse jumping over a barrier as if in competition

The U.S. District Court has approved the consent decree reached between Orange County Coastkeeper, the City of San Juan Capistrano, and Blenheim Facility Management to settle Coastkeeper's Clean Water Act litigation. The City owns the Riding Park at Rancho Mission Viejo, which hosts a range of equestrian competitions year-round, boarding as many as 1,000 horses over the course of long weekend events. The Riding Park sits along San Juan Creek, a natural waterbody. Working with Coastkeeper, we determined that the City had constructed a road through the creek without approval from the Army Corps of Engineers or the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board, and the property -- despite the large number of horses stabled during competition weekends -- was not covered by either the IGP or a CAFO NPDES permit to control its discharges of pollutants into San Juan Creek. Through the course of the lawsuit, the defendants applied for permit coverage and began issuing plans for rehabilitation of the creek and creek bank. By approving the settlement, the Court paved the way for the defendants to plan structural and organizational management practices to ensure that the facility complies with Clean Water Act requirements, and provided attorneys' fees, consultants' fees, and litigation costs for our work over the course of almost two years.

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