According to Miele, that would probably boost the sewage bills of homeowners served by the Carson plant by $20 a year. Currently, the agency's charges average about $70 annually per household, he said. Mayors don't welcome the prospect of burgeoning sewer bills.
"I don't think we should be spending money foolishly when [state] standards are being met," said Harold Croyts, a Lomita City Council member who represents his city on the local sanitation districts board. "I think we're just wasting money . . . . Even if we didn't have the DDT, I think I'd still be against" requiring full secondary treatment.
Although clearly in the minority, Geissert and Parton side with environmentalists who argue that the sanitation districts has a responsibility to filter more solids from the Carson plant effluent.
They point to the agency's own figures showing that full secondary treatment would significantly reduce the discharge of oil, grease and toxic heavy metals that are attached to solids carried in the effluent.
The problem of DDT in the ocean bottom, they say, should be studied and dealt with separately from the issue of sewage treatment.
"With all due respect," Geissert said in testimony at Monday's EPA hearing, "we feel that covering one problem with another problem is not a responsible was to go."