Friday, December 15, 2006
San Diego residents could face additional increases in sewer rates to fund the upgrade of the city's Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant. The plant does not meet national water pollution standards. KPBS reporter Ed Joyce has more.
If San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders decides to improve the plant it could cost close to $1 billion. One analysis says that would boost city sewer rates by more than 25 percent. But the city may ask for another five-year exemption from national pollution standards. The city's current waiver expires in 2008. The Point Loma plant discharges wastewater into the Pacific Ocean after primary treatment. Primary treatment removes about 85 percent of the total suspended solids, or TSS, from the discharge – suspended solids can include dead plant material and sewage. The nation's major treatment plants use secondary treatment, which removes 90 percent or more of the TSS from wastewater. Scientists say large amounts of TSS can destroy fish habitat because it absorbs heat from sunlight, which increases water temperatures and decreases oxygen. Ed Joyce, KPBS News.