Fountain Creek lawsuit update: Court grants more time for settlement talks

The Fountain Creek Watershed is located along the central front range of Colorado. It is a 927-square mile watershed that drains south into the Arkansas River at Pueblo. The watershed is bordered by the Palmer Divide to the north, Pikes Peak to the west, and a minor divide 20 miles east of Colorado Springs. Map via the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District.

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Robert Boczkiewicz):

Officials of Pueblo County and of the Lower Arkansas Valley are making significant progress to resolve a lawsuit against Colorado Springs for years of defiling Fountain Creek.

“The parties have made significant progress toward settlement,” states a July 23 report obtained by The Pueblo Chieftain.

The report was submitted to a judge in Denver of the U.S. District Court for Colorado, where the lawsuit is pending.

The Chieftain reported in December that both sides of the dispute had begun meeting to discuss a potential resolution without further litigation.

The new report and the one in December were signed by attorneys for the litigants: the county commissioners, the Lower Arkansas Water Conservancy District, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Public Health and Environment on one side, and the city of Colorado Springs on the other side…

After a trial last year, the judge overseeing the case decided in November that the Colorado Springs violated its permit that regulates discharges into the creek from the city’s storm water sewer system.

The next step would have been for another trial to determine what the city must do to remedy the violations.

The commissioners, the water conservancy district, plus the federal and state environmental agencies stated in December they would ask a judge to order Colorado Springs to improve its storm water system, impose monetary penalties “and other appropriate remedies” if both sides could not agree on how to resolve the dispute.

In last week’s report, all sides stated they “have been meeting regularly and intensively to reach settlement.”

They asked the judge to put the case on hold in order to give them at least until Nov. 22 “to focus on settlement.”

Senior Judge John L. Kane granted the request.

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