The city of Los Angeles will spend about $43 million to convert the Terminal Island waste-water treatment plant into a water recycling facility.
The plant treats sewage from Wilmington and San Pedro and then discharges it into the harbor.
For 10 years, the city has been unable to prove that the quality of discharged water meets state guidelines, said Jerry Gewe, water resources engineer at the city Department of Water and Power. In 1985, the California Regional Water Quality Control Board ordered the city to improve water quality.
Gewe said three options were considered by the city, including using pipes to discharge the waste water into the ocean past the breakwater, where water quality standards for discharge are lower.
But the City Council agreed on the water reclamation plan in July and the water board approved the plan Oct. 31.
By 1999, the plant will produce five million gallons of reusable water a day for industry. Eventually, all effluent will be recycled, Gewe said.
"We thought it was better to get a resource we could utilize instead of just putting it out into the ocean," he said.