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Council Approves Sewer Repairs for $150 Million Extra Annually

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Aired 4/19/09

The San Diego City Council has voted to accept a plan that would require substantial investment in the city's failing sewer system -- and end six years of environmental litigation. KPBS reporter Alan Ray has details.

The city council has voted 6-to-nothing approving a federal court consent decree -- committing the city to make significant sewer repairs and come into compliance with federal clean water standards. The end goal is to keep sewage out of local waterways.

Compliance with the order will settle lawsuits brought first by environmentalists, then joined by regulators.

The Union Tribune reports it contains some specific goals. The city will have to clean 1,500 miles of sewer lines and repair or replace 45 miles of pipe per year.

Between the cost of compliance with the court order and on-going operations, San Diego sewer system expenses are expected to increase by more than $150 million a year.

To meet the higher costs, the city is raising sewer rates for residential users and business owners every year through 2010.

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