Responding to an emergency request from Mayor Tom Bradley and city sanitation officials, Los Angeles harbor commissioners voted Tuesday to allow the city to truck sludge to a seven-acre site at Terminal Island, where it will be turned into compost.
The city Bureau of Sanitation needs the port-owned land--as well as five acres it has agreed to lease from Los Angeles International Airport--to help comply with a court-imposed Dec. 31 deadline to cease dumping sludge into Santa Monica Bay.
The city has already complied with the federal court order by trucking the sludge from the Hyperion sewage plant near El Segundo to two landfills, one in West Covina and one north of the San Fernando Valley. But the landfills are closed on weekends and cannot be used when it is raining, forcing sanitation officials to store the sludge at the Hyperion plant. During heavy rains last week, officials said, storage was at capacity.
The port and the airport have both agreed to lease their land to the city for 18 months, beginning Jan. 1. The airport land is rent-free, but the port is charging the city $21,599 a month.
"Sludge is not a cheap business," one sanitation official noted.