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San Diego Closer To Another Sewage Waiver


Aired 4/19/09

The City of San Diego is a step closer to getting a third five-year exemption from the federal Clean Water Act for the Point Loma Sewage Treatment Plant. The waiver is subject to a public hearing next month. KPBS Environmental Reporter Ed Joyce has more.

The tentative EPA ruling means the city can continue treating sewage at the "advanced primary" level before discharging the waste about 4-1/2 miles offshore.

The EPA says city records show the sewage is not harming the marine environment.

The Point Loma plant is the nation's largest sewage facility that doesn't meet the federally mandated "secondary" treatment level which removes more pollutants.

San Diego Coastkeeper's Bruce Reznik says if the wavier is granted, he hopes the city takes steps to improve the plant.

Reznik: And look at ways that we can minimize or even eliminate discharges to the ocean and actually start to beneficially reuse wastewater that again would otherwise be dumped out into our ocean and impact that environment.

Reznik says environmental groups haven't decided whether to challenge the waiver if it's approved as expected next month.

Ed Joyce, KPBS News.


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