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San Diego Gets Another Wastewater Waiver

Audio

Aired 8/2/10

The Environmental Protection Agency will allow San Diego to continue treating its sewage at a lower, primary level. This exception to federal law will save the city more than $1 billion.

— The Environmental Protection Agency will allow San Diego to continue treating its sewage at a lower, primary level. This exception to federal law will save the city more than $1 billion.

San Diego has been the only big city in the country whose wastewater discharge falls short of clean water standards. Now the EPA has given the city another five-year waiver so it can maintain this lower level of treatment. Mayor Jerry Sanders stood at the site of the Point Loma wastewater plant to praise the decision. He said the city would have had to raise residents' sewer bills 70 percent to upgrade its wastewater plant, which he said was unnecessary.

"A long list of experts has certified that we're doing a perfectly effective job of treating the wastewater," Sanders said, "which is discharged four-and-a-half miles offshore, 320 feet deep."

The environmental group San Diego Coastkeeper said it will support the EPA's decision if San Diego works to recycle sewage and reduce the effluent that goes out to sea.

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