CA Supreme Court tosses LA lawsuit over sludge ban

Treated sewer sludge is spread over a field owned by Shaen Magen, near Corcoran, California. If it weren't for the constant shipments of human waste from Southern California's cities, Kern County farmer Shaen Magen says his farm would dry up and blow away.
Treated sewer sludge is spread over a field owned by Shaen Magen, near Corcoran, California. If it weren't for the constant shipments of human waste from Southern California's cities, Kern County farmer Shaen Magen says his farm would dry up and blow away. Gary Kazanjian/AP

The California Supreme Court has tossed out a Los Angeles lawsuit aimed at allowing the city to keep using tons of treated sewage sludge as fertilizer on a Kern County farm.

The court on Monday said L.A. missed a deadline to file the state suit after a federal court dismissed its case. The ruling overturns an appeals court decision that sided with LA.

City attorney's spokesman Rob Wilcox says L.A. will return to trial court to address the timing issue.

For years, Los Angeles has shipped treated waste north to a 4,200-acre farm it owns in Kern County, where fertilizes crops for livestock.

In 2006, Kern County voters banned the use of sewage sludge as fertilizer amid concerns it would pollute groundwater. L.A. has been challenging the ban ever since.

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