A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has ordered the South Coast Air Quality Management District to consider the impact on ground-water cleanup before limiting emission of air contaminants from water-treatment towers.
The ruling by Judge Miriam Vogel in a suit filed by the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District, whose office is in El Monte, requires the AQMD to conduct an environmental impact study before imposing restrictions on air-stripping towers. The towers remove organic pollutants from water by aeration, transferring the pollutants to the air.
The AQMD board adopted a rule last January that would have limited emissions from the towers starting in December. The water district filed suit in February, accusing the AQMD of ignoring the effects on ground-water cleanup efforts. Attorney Arthur Kidman, who represents the water district, said pollution controls under the AQMD rule could double the cost of air-treatment towers.
Jacqueline Switzer, an AQMD spokeswoman, said the agency will comply with the judge's ruling. She said that once the study is completed, probably in four to six months, the AQMD board will again consider limitations on water treatment towers.