News | November 6, 2015

Federal judge dismisses counterclaim in Harpeth River lawsuit

Last year SELC, on behalf of the Harpeth River Watershed Association (HRWA), sent the City of Franklin a notice and later filed a citizen suit to enforce the city’s sewage discharge permit under the Clean Water Act. Franklin's sewage treatment system discharges into Tennessee's Harpeth River, which is a seasonally low-flow river on the state’s list of impaired waters. In response to the suit, the city filed a counterclaim against HRWA, alleging that its offer to resolve the dispute through settlement was unlawful. On Wednesday, a federal judge rejected the city’s claim.

“We are delighted that the court dismissed the counterclaim against the HRWA,” said Anne Davis, Managing Attorney of SELC’s Nashville office. “It has been a distraction and cost a lot of resources, when we should be focused on cleaning the river.”

According to the Tennessean newspaper, the City of Franklin has already accumulated $500,000 in legal charges. The U.S. District Chief Judge Kevin Sharp questioned the city’s legal maneuvers by asking, “Should you be filing a counterclaim instead of everybody working for clean water?”