Environmental Commons, October 12, 2006


[Rachel's introduction: Mendocino County, California, will apply precaution to stormwater runoff.]

By Britt Bailey

The precautionary principle was adopted as county-wide policy in Mendocino County, California June 28, 2006. The county has now identified two departments to begin implementing a pilot project incorporating the principle in decision-making.

The County Executive's Office has chosen the Water Agency and the Environmental Health deoartments. The project proposed as a pilot is the Stormwater Discharge Program. This offers a very exciting prospect because the Plan has a clearly precautionary intent-- to decrease the amount of toxins, pesticides, fertilizers, pathogens, metals, etc... getting into untreated waters, including streams and rivers receiving runoff from impervious surfaces and land uses.

We believe that applying the Precautionary Principle to this existing and required program will result in reducing untreated discharges that contribute high levels of pollutants to receiving water bodies. Pollutant levels from these illicit discharges have been shown in EPA studies to be high enough to significantly degrade water quality and threaten aquatic, wildlife, and human health.

The Mendocino Partnership for the Precautionary Principle invites the public to get involved as we move forward with incorporating the Precautionary Principle into the Stormwater Discharge Plan. A key piece of the Precautionary Principle involves public participation. Public meetings will be announced on our website. The next meeting will be held in November. We will be sending an announcement when the date and time is finalized.

Please see latest update to the website: