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Covering Elysian Reservoir

December 11, 1986

The issue of covering Elysian Reservoir is of great interest to me and my Silver Lake and Echo Park neighbors.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's plan to cover such reservoirs or convert them to steel storage tanks is so important to Los Angeles residents that it became an agenda item at this month's meeting of the Hillside Federation.

Although the DWP is undertaking this multimillion-dollar project to improve the quality of our drinking water, questions were raised concerning such things as warmer tap water, increased bacteria counts and contamination due to condensation within the vented tanks. Another important issue is the overall decrease in storage capacity for drinking water supplies that will result from the project. DWP engineers have said they also consider this to be a problem.

In addition to the water issue are human and ecological concerns. There has been no particular care for the loss to parks and neighborhoods whose ambiance depends upon the serenity of a lake view. Nor have there been studies to measure potential damage to the floral and faunal habitats dependent upon the surface waters of our reservoir system. And lastly, the DWP admits that it doesn't have any idea how it will deal with larger reservoirs such as Silver Lake, short of installing three- to four-acre filtration plants somewhere downstream.

The federation has therefore strongly requested the DWP to perform a master environmental assessment (MEA), as specified in the California Environmental Quality Act. Such an environmental study, along with public hearings, will help assure us the best water at the lowest cost. It may lead to new ideas that would eliminate the need to cover many of the reservoirs, especially those in parks or residential areas.

We have also requested the DWP to suspend or withdraw its request for a categorical exemption to allow the covering of the Elysian Reservoir with an aluminum roof until the MEA is complete.



Kayser is vice president of the Federation of Hillside and Canyon Assns.

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