UPDATE: City Responds to Sewage Spills

The 26 spills reached either the Arroyo Seco or Los Angeles River. And two resulted in closure of open coastal beaches.

Patch reported Wednesday that the City of South Pasadena is facing $2.8 million for violating the Clean Water Act and allowing 26 raw sewage spills over the past four years.

The 26 spills resulted in the discharge of 121,040 gallons of untreated waste water—possibly containing high levels of toxic pollutants, oil, grease, and other pollutants—between Jan. 29, 2007 and Jan. 7, 2011.

Yet even though the California Regional Water Quality Control Board said South Pas could be charged $25 per gallon spilled and up to $25,000 per day of violation, Assistant City Manager Sergio Gonzalez says they will likely enter an agreement with the Attorney General instead.  

"We are very close in wrapping up an agreement, which we will bring to council Nov. 16. It's a long-range plan to improve the infrastructure and reduce the number of spills. It will also include a formal maintenance plan, which will be a combination of capital improvement projects and maintenance," said Gonzalez.  

Gonzalez says the most cost effective way to fix the problem is to conduct sewer repairs and street improvement projects simultaneously.

"This council really has been proactive in repairing infrastructure, but it doesn’t happen over night. We have over $100 million-worth of capital improvement projects and only so many resources."

The main culprit of the sewage spills, he continued, is tree roots invasion. The City is currently taking video footage to investigate its 75-year-old sewers. "The first step to fixing is seeing where the problems are."

The agreement between the City and Attorney General will most likely include a commitment to a certain amount of repairs within a specific time frame with the consequence being fines. When the City does move forward with the plan, Gonzalez says it will utilize our local resources such as the NREC and Water Council.  

City Council will discuss this anticipated litigation in closed session Wednesday.

Check back with Patch as we continue to follow this story. 

Correction: This article originally quoted Sergio Gonzalez saying the City has over $100,000-worth of capital improvement projects to complete. That number was inaccurate. Patch regrets the error. 

Click here to read our original story with more details on the sewer spills. 

Allan Richards November 03, 2011 at 12:13 AM
Let the damage control begin.
mark November 03, 2011 at 12:32 AM
I have two questions for South Pasadena City Council. The yes on UT arguments claims that a yes of UT vote would address critical deferred maintenance issue in the …sewer systems. Yet the article in the Star News says that South Pasadena City Council is considering a 61% increase in user sewer fees. If UT passes why is this increase necessary?. Also the Star News reported that South Pasadena did not report the spills as required by law and also misrepresented the reasons for the spills. Has anyone been fired for this?
Andy Krinock November 03, 2011 at 02:24 AM
Very good questions Mark. The City has not been pro acitive in infrastructure repairs. Repairs have been delayed for decades to fight the freeway. The freeway fight should have been fought with donations or special assessments. A multi year assessment and now it sees the light of day? To be resolved AFTER the election? I suggest the City show the amount of infrastructure repairs over the last 10 years. Something doesn't smell right and it isn't the sewer issue.
Kristen Lepore (Editor) November 08, 2011 at 05:45 PM
@Mark: Hopefully this article answers some of your questions: http://patch.com/A-n5T7


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