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Let's Get Rid of the Discharge Waiver

January 06, 2002

Re "Sewage Spills Top Record in O.C.," Dec. 27:

Since I had been exceptionally good over the previous 12 months, I decided to ask for something really big for Christmas. I don't have room for a pony and I still have my two front teeth, so instead I am asking for the Orange County Sanitation District to clean up north Orange County's sewage.

Each day, the district pumps 240 million gallons of sewage into the ocean offshore from where I surf. Because the waste water is discharged under a 301(h) waiver, it doesn't receive the level of treatment the 1972 Clean Water Act considers minimal to safeguard public health.

The sanitation district currently removes only 45% to 55% of the coliform bacteria that can cause beach closures and/or stomachaches. Sixteen-thousand sanitation districts operate without a waiver and remove 90% to 99%. Getting Orange County to follow suit is a relatively inexpensive present at 14 cents a day per household.

The sanitation district's board of directors will make its waiver renewal application decision next year. Twenty-one directors are city council members from the cities the district serves. The Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Seal Beach and Costa Mesa city councils have passed resolutions against the waiver. You can chip in for my present by telling your city to oppose the renewal of the waiver.

Adam Levitan

Huntington Beach

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