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L.A.'s Sewer System and Closure of Beaches

July 20, 2002

Re "Sharing the Beach With Pollution," Commentary, July 4: The primary cause of beach closures in L.A. County is not from sewer spills from the city of Los Angeles but rather from sewer spills from other cities or from storm water runoff. The majority of the spills reported in the column were minimal and did not reach the beaches or rivers. The sewer overflows are mainly the result of grease blockages or root intrusion in the sewer system, and we regularly service the system to minimize these problems.

Los Angeles' sewer system is one of the largest in the nation and has a considerably lower number of spills compared with other systems nationwide, or even statewide. The city has adopted an aggressive sewer maintenance and condition assessment stance and already has implemented a number of programs to reduce the overflows to comply with new proposed federal regulations.

In its commitment to protecting the environment, the city has spent $2 billion in upgrades to the Hyperion Treatment Plant and an additional $1 billion in sewer improvements over the last 10 years and plans to spend $2 billion over the next 10 years.

Valerie Lynne Shaw

President, Los Angeles

Board of Public Works

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