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VENTURA COUNTY FOCUS | EAST COUNTY / THOUSAND OAKS

Sewage Spill Hearing Postponed to August

June 16, 1998|KATE FOLMAR

As expected, a hearing about a proposed $2.1-million fine against the city for a massive sewage spill has been postponed.

The hearing before the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board, which had been scheduled Monday, has been rescheduled Aug. 3 at Camarillo City Hall.

At the hearing, the appointed board members will decide whether to uphold, cut or increase the suggested fine against the city, which stems from an 86-million-gallon sewer spill in February.

Thousand Oaks officials requested the extension, said City Atty. Mark Sellers.

"We want to be prepared for the case, particularly given the size of the suggested fine," Sellers said. The amount is believed to be the largest such fine in state history.

State regulators chose such a large penalty because they believe the spill was avoidable. To back up their point, they cite two previous spills from the same sewer main and note that the line was long scheduled for replacement.

Given February's drenching rains--which broke records across the state--city officials call the spill an "act of God." Furthermore, the city attempted to fix the line once during a brief lull in the storms, only to have it break again. The line was largely inaccessible during the rains because the narrow canyon surrounding it was flooded.

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