Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Public Rates Quicker Response on Spills : In Recent Laguna Beach Incident, It Should Be Noted the Clock Runs Weekends, Too

October 09, 1994

Officials in Laguna Beach understandably have been angered over repeated sewage spills in the Aliso Creek area at the south end of town, and that has led to the formation of a task force to address the problem. Whatever the outcome of that effort, here's hoping it improves on what happened last weekend when a three-quarter-mile stretch of beach from Aster Street at the south end of Heisler Park north to Fairview Street was closed by the Orange County Health Care Agency.

The spill first was noticed on a Thursday morning by a resident, and when the liquid still was gushing from the drain late Friday night, Robert Mosier, president of the Laguna Beach Taxpayers Assn., called police. When it was not stopped Saturday, he called the Laguna Beach County Water District. A water district worker did respond Saturday , but there apparently was some miscommunication between officials over what to do, and the result was that there was no follow-up to see whether the storm drain was still gushing. A county official said the health agency was not alerted until Monday morning, and it was not until that day that contaminated water signs were posted in nearby coves.

By Wednesday, the spill had stopped. City Manager Kenneth C. Frank said most appeared to have been ground water that leaked into the joints of the storm drain. There was some, but not much, sewage.

It was a relief that there was light sewage, but this was not known for some time, and sewage spills require a quick response. The residents who first noticed the problem did their part by informing officials that they saw something worthy of their attention. But the clock doesn't stop over the weekend, and the spill resulted in the closure for some time of the strip of beach. Officials are right to be concerned about the risk, but one of the messages they need to communicate is the importance of quicker response.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|