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Orange County

Dumping Off Huntington Is Up for Review

Utilities: Sanitation board will decide whether to seek an extension on an EPA waiver that allows the discharge.

June 18, 2002|STANLEY ALLISON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Orange County Sanitation District's board of directors will meet Wednesday to discuss whether it should continue dumping partly treated sewage from an outfall four miles off the Huntington Beach coast.

The district has a waiver from the EPA that allows it to do less treatment of sewage than most other districts in the country. The waiver expires next year.

Three of the four alternatives under consideration call for the district to maintain the waiver; the fourth would have the district give full secondary treatment to the sewage.

Eight Orange County cities are opposed to an extension of the waiver, fearing the partly treated sewage is polluting the ocean and could be a cause of the high bacteria levels that have periodically closed beaches the last few years.

District officials said there is no evidence sewage from the outfall is polluting the beaches. Ending the waiver, they said, would force the district to spend $400 million for new sewage treatment facilities. Some on the district's board have suggested a nonbinding ballot measure that would seek the public's perspective on the issues.

A bill sponsored by Assemblyman Ken Maddox (R-Garden Grove) would require that all waste water discharged into the ocean by the district receive full treatment.

That legislation cleared a key state Senate environmental committee Monday.

The meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the district's Fountain Valley headquarters, 10844 Ellis Ave.

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