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South Bay Postscripts : A Look Back at People and Events in the News : Smelly Reservoir Getting a Lid Put on Algae Problem

January 08, 1987|GERALD FARIS

About a year ago, the Metropolitan Water District asked residents whose homes overlook the Palos Verdes Reservoir in Rolling Hills Estates what they thought of the idea of covering the 30-acre "local lake."

It seems that for years sunlight acting on bacteria and algae has given the water a swampy odor and greenish cast requiring super-chlorination to eliminate. A cover would keep the sun from doing its dirty work.

While some grumbled about losing an aquatic view and others suggested that the solid top be given over to recreation or even a shopping center, water district spokesman Bob Gomperz said the agency received no formal complaints. And last month the 358-million-gallon reservoir--which serves the Peninsula and Harbor areas--was drained in the first step of a long project to cover it by April, 1988. A bypass system is handling water deliveries until work is completed and the reservoir refilled.

The concrete lining is being inspected and cracks repaired. After the awarding of a contract in July, installation of a rubber-like, earth-tone covering will start in September. Gomperz said the original estimated cost of $10 million has been pared to $4.5 million because materials are cheaper than anticipated and the water district has done much of its own designing and engineering.

"When this is finished, we will be able to use this reservoir as it was intended to be used," Comperz said. The reservoir has been operating at a quarter of its capacity for several years because of the algae problem, but the covering will allow it to be filled to the brim for water storage in the event of an emergency.

And even though the top will be rubberized, there are no plans to use it as a giant trampoline--much less a shopping center.

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