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Officials Label Proposed L.A. Rules on Pollutants Illegal

September 29, 1988|ESTHER SCHRADER | Times Staff Writer

Glendale officials this week called "illegal and unenforceable" a proposed Los Angeles ordinance that would extend the rigorous standards on the discharge of pollutants in Los Angeles to 29 cities and agencies that use its sewer system.

The ordinance, expected to be discussed by the Los Angeles City Council within a month, would require the cities and agencies that use the system to develop tighter controls on industrial waste.

If the cities and agencies failed to develop such controls, Los Angeles officials said, their inspectors would go to industrial sites in the neighboring cities to enforce the waste controls themselves.

Earlier this year, a study done by the Los Angeles city Bureau of Sanitation found that a disproportionate amount of heavy metals and other pollutants are entering the city's sewer system from cities that contract to use the system that Los Angeles controls and maintains.

The contracting cities are not now subject to Los Angeles industrial waste pollution controls, Los Angeles city officials said. But federal and state laws require that Los Angeles prevent the introduction of pollutants into the system.

Los Angeles officials contend that the city has the authority to extend its enforcement of industrial waste discharge outside its borders under those federal and state laws. But in the last week, three cities that use the sewage system--Glendale, Burbank and Santa Monica--have challenged the legality of such a plan.

Glendale officials said they already have laws that regulate the discharge of industrial wastes in the city. But Glendale does not inspect industrial sites to enforce those laws, Glendale City Manager David H. Ramsay said. Los Angeles officials said they want to tighten that enforcement.

Glendale City Atty. Frank R. Manzano said in a letter to Los Angeles city officials that an attempt to enforce the proposed ordinance outside its boundaries is "in direct conflict with all constitutional and legal precedence which guarantees a charter city the authority to regulate its own affairs."

"It's primarily an issue of local control," Ramsay said. "The city of Los Angeles thinks that it can tell us, as an independent government body, how to operate. We are committed to doing the right thing, and we will work with them on that, but we are not going to give them the power to regulate what our citizens do."

During the last two weeks, Glendale public works staff members have met with Los Angeles officials to iron out the dispute. But no compromise has been reached on the issue. Delwin A. Biagi, Los Angeles director of sanitation, has scheduled an Oct. 7 meeting with officials from the eight cities using the sewer system to discuss the dispute.

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