The precedent-setting decision, handed down by Judge Kristin Miller of the Office of State Administrative Hearings, found that the permitted discharge would result in lower water quality for the Chattahoochee River. The judge concluded that since Forsyth County can treat its wastewater and discharge significantly less pollution at minimal additional cost, the lowering of water quality is not necessary. Federal and state law prohibit lowering water quality unless necessary for important social or economic development in an area.
SGR environmental attorneys Andy Thompson and Steve O’Day represented UCR. The firm is a pioneer in environmental law, having started its practice in 1970.
“This is clearly a victory for enforcement of the Clean Water Act, and in line with current efforts nationally by U.S. EPA to focus on in-stream water quality, and to prevent reductions in water quality through enforcement of antidegradation rules,” said Andy Thompson. “We are very pleased with Judge Miller’s thorough, well-reasoned and detailed decision, and the positive results it will bring to UCR and those who enjoy the river and its downstream reservoirs.”
Established in 1994, Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper (UCR) is an environmental advocacy organization with over 5,000 members dedicated solely to protecting and restoring the Chattahoochee River, its lakes and tributaries, for the people, fish and wildlife that depend upon it. The Chattahoochee River is the primary drinking water source for 3.5 million people.
Smith, Gambrell & Russell is a full service, international law firm that advises regional, national and global businesses on a wide range of legal matters. The firm’s 175-plus attorneys provide legal counsel in practice areas including corporate transactions, litigation, intellectual property, aviation, banking, construction and employment law. Founded in 1893, SGR has offices in Atlanta, Jacksonville, New York, Washington, DC and Frankfurt, Germany. Please visit www.sgrlaw.com for more information.