OMLO Associate Chelsea Scharf Negotiates Groundwater Cleanup Agreement

Eastern Municipal Water District (“EMWD”), an OMLO client, provides water and sewer service to approximately 800,000 residents of Riverside County. EMWD owns a groundwater well located southeast of March Air Reserve Base (MARB), downgradient of prior fire fighter training sites where Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) were used.  The perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) in EMWD’s well (and two adjacent private wells) exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established lifetime health advisory level (LHA) and were taken out of service.

The U.S. Air Force assumed responsibility for the presence of PFOA and PFOS, and has worked cooperatively with EMWD to mitigate the impacts of PFOA and PFOS on the wells.,  The U.S. Air Force and EMWD have established several agreements that reimburse EMWD for the costs associated with the mitigation. The OMLO Water Practice group has assisted in negotiating and drafting several agreements to further the cleanup and mitigation effort. The most recent effort involved OMLO associate Chelsea Scharf, who recently negotiated an agreement to establish reimbursement for expenses related to EMWD’s operation and maintenance  of the wellhead treatment facility.  This agreement includes several benefits to EMWD, including reimbursement for imported water costs for replacement water during facility shutdowns, monitoring costs, and  granulated activated carbon treatment change out and disposal costs.  This agreement is renewable in the event  the presence of PFOA and/or PFOS in EMWD’s well continues to be above the applicable standards, and will fund the operation and maintenance of the well for an estimated cost of $310,000 per year or $1.55 million over the next 5 years.

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) have become emerging chemicals of concern for a variety of public and private water providers nationwide. OMLO is proud of its expertise in this area, and of being a crucial team member in addressing this serious public health concern.

OMLO Partner Lloyd Pilchen Publishes Article on River Reversal in The American Surveyor

OMLO Partner Lloyd Pilchen Publishes Article on River Reversal in The American Surveyor

Judge rules University of California System can’t use SAT and ACT tests for admissions

Today (September 1, 2020,) a judge in Alameda County announced a groundbreaking decision in Kawika Smith v. Regents of the University of California, granting a preliminary injunction that requires the UC system to stop using the SAT and ACT as part of the admissions process immediately.

Tom Madruga, of Olivarez Madruga Lemieux O’Neill, LLP, represents Compton Unified School District, a plaintiff in a consolidated case, Compton Unified School District v. Regents of the University of California.  Compton Unified School District is one of several plaintiffs who allege that the UC’s use of the SAT and ACT is discriminatory against applicants based on their race, socio-economic status, and disability.

This is a historic decision for rising seniors in Compton and anyone currently in the process of applying to a UC school.  For years these exams have systemically discriminated against talented and qualified students with less advantages and opportunities to pursue higher education at the UC.  Now applicants will not be hindered by yet another obstacle in pursuit of their dreams.

The UC Regents voted to eliminate the tests in late May, but several campuses, including UCLA, UC San Diego, and UC Riverside, planned to use a so-called “test-optional” policy.  Today’s announcement recognizes that the use of the tests at UC campuses would create a two-tier system inaccessible to students with disabilities and ultimately harmful to students.

The ruling emphasized how the COVID-19 pandemic has restricted the ability of students with disabilities to be tested with the accommodations they need: “[T]he barriers faced by students with disabilities are indisputably significantly greater than those faced by non-disabled students,” wrote Judge Brad Seligman.

The plaintiffs in Kawika Smith v. Regents of the University of California are five individual students and six organizations: College Access Plan, Little Manila Rising, Dolores Huerta Foundation, College Seekers, Chinese for Affirmative Action, and Community Coalition. They are represented by Public Counsel, Scheper Kim & Harris, Equal Justice Society, Miller Advocacy Group, and Brown Goldstein & Levy.


Read the ruling here.