A Chicago federal judge has refused to sink a lawsuit by environmental activists alleging the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago has polluted waterways with excessive levels of phosphorus, ruling the district failed to show the activists contradicted themselves, by arguing in state court environmental permits do not significantly restrict phosphorus discharges, while arguing in federal court the permits do impose such restrictions.
The lllinois Supreme Court has thrown cold water on a lawsuit brought by a group of northwest suburban Cook County homeowners who claimed the state’s largest stormwater management agency unconstitutionally violated their property rights when the agency, taking action to prevent flooding elsewhere during a heavy rainfall six years ago, diverted water into creeks near the plaintiffs’ homes, flooding their neighborhoods in the process.
The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, the organization responsible for treating much of the Chicago area's sewage, says it is working to reduce the phosphorus content of the treated water it releases back into local rivers and streams, in advance of decisions from judges hearing litigation brought by environmental groups who have alleged the district should be held liable for "unnatural" plant and algae growth in area waterways, fueled primarily by phosphorus.
A group of environmental action organizations appear to have more work ahead of them if they wish to persuade a federal judge that the region’s largest sewage treatment agency broke federal law and should be held responsible for what they have called unnatural levels of plant and algae growth in local rivers and streams, which the environmental groups claim is spurred by phosphorus in the treated water flowing from the agency’s sewage treatment plants.
Appeals panel: IL pollution board wrong to uphold permits for Metro Water District sewage plants without stricter phosphorus limit
Environmental action groups have secured a legal victory in their efforts to force the region’s largest treater of wastewater to limit the amount of phosphorus – a fertilizing chemical that can cause destructive algae blooms in rivers and streams – put into local streams by its sewage treatment plants, as an Illinois appellate panel said state regulatory bodies were wrong to grant permits for three of the region’s largest treatment plants without more stringent phosphorus limits in place.
The political campaign for a candidate seeking a seat on the board of commissioners overseeing sewage treatment and stormwater management in Chicago and most of Cook County has been hit with a class action lawsuit, alleging the campaign violated federal law when it placed pre-recorded robocalls to cell phones.