Clark County to file motion about North Las Vegas wastewater in state court

Clark County on Monday withdrew its request for a federal judge to stop North Las Vegas from discharging treated wastewater into a county-owned flood control channel after the judge questioned whether he has jurisdiction in the matter.

The county made the request Thursday in a motion for a temporary restraining order. The action came exactly one week after North Las Vegas filed a federal lawsuit against the county.

The county has argued that the entire matter should be heard in state court and on Sunday filed a case against the city there. But the county filed its motion for a restraining order in federal court because that was the "court where we found ourselves," Alan Lefebvre, an attorney for the county, said during a hearing before U.S. District Judge Philip Pro.

The county now plans to file a separate motion for a restraining order in state court.

The city has argued that a federal court has jurisdiction because the dispute involves property rights on federal land. North Las Vegas' new $300 million wastewater treatment plant is outside the city on land leased from the U.S. Air Force at Carey Avenue, south of Nellis Air Force Base.

After months of feuding with the county, the city on June 9 began discharging from its sewer plant into the Sloan Channel. From the channel, wastewater flows several miles to the Las Vegas Wash, then downstream to Lake Mead.

Clark County contends that the city can't use the channel without county permission.

North Las Vegas filed its lawsuit after county officials promised to seek a court order to stop the discharge. The lawsuit seeks a ruling that the city has the authority to discharge into the channel despite county objections.

Pro will hear arguments on the jurisdictional issue in a couple of weeks.

"Let's get the horse before the cart," he said.

In the meantime, Patrick Byrne, an attorney representing North Las Vegas, said, "the water still flows."

Contact reporter Lynnette Curtis at or 702-383-0285.