Northwest Environmental Advocates Sues EPA Over Water Quality Impairment

On Tuesday, plaintiff Northwest Environmental Advocates filed a suit against the Environmental Protection Agency claiming that they have impaired the water quality in Puget Sound in Washington state. This suit has been filed in the Western District of Washington at Seattle.

Northwest Environmental Advocates is a non-profit organization established in 1969 that focuses on “advocacy and education to protect and restore water and air quality, wetlands, and wildlife habitats in the Northwest.”

The complaint alleges that the EPA has failed to “ensure the protection and restoration of the marine waters of Puget Sound in the State of Washington and is in violation of the mandates of the Clean Water Act.”

The plaintiff is claiming that the “EPA has violated its mandatory duty to develop Total Maximum Daily Loads for the Puget Sound” and that approving “TMDL Alternatives” is in violation of the CWA. “A TMDL is the total daily loading of a pollutant for a particular waterbody or segment.”

According to the plaintiff, the Puget Sound is a body of water that has been degrading due to population growth and that nitrogen levels in the water will grow harmful algal blooms, which could injure other wildlife and humans within the next few decades. Failing to require TMDLs is a main reason to be exacerbating this occurrence, the Plaintiff claims.

The plaintiff is also claiming that the Washington Department of Ecology has continued to issue and reissue permits to many different organizations who are discharging to the Puget Sound and its tributaries that could compromise the water quality. 

The plaintiff is pursuing two claims for relief, the first is for violations under the Clean Water Act, the second claim for relief is for Violation of the Administrative Procedure act.

The plaintiff is being co-represented by Western Environmental Law Center and Earthrise Law Center