By ELIZABETH MARCELLINO City News Service
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors today voted to conduct a statewide assessment of wastewater infrastructure after 8 million gallons of wastewater recently spilled into the Pacific Ocean.
The supervisors Janice Hahn and Kathryn Barger called for evaluation.
“The sewer pipe that collapsed in Carson in late December, dumping 8 million gallons of sewage into our ocean, was almost 60 years old,” Hahn said. “Not only do we need to understand why this pipe wasn’t replaced sooner, but also how our aging infrastructure is holding up in sewer systems across the county.”
In a separate motion, Hahn and Supervisor Holly Mitchell recommended that county authorities participate in the Sanitation District’s investigation into the Carson accident.
The board does not directly oversee the various sanitation districts, although Mitchell sits on each of the district boards with city officials, and Barger and supervisor Sheila Kuehl also represent the 9th and 17th districts, respectively.
Mitchell said a video inspection of the pipe was conducted on December 1, just weeks before the outage, and prompted no immediate action.
“I look forward to hearing from the Sanitation District what may have been missed in our routine inspection,” Mitchell said.
The spilled sewage caused officials to close beaches in Los Angeles and Orange counties over the Lunar New Year holiday weekend.
Hahn said she expects to know the district knows repairs are needed.
“They were betting (approximately) on the time it would take to make the necessary repairs and unfortunately they ran out of time,” Hahn said. “We don’t want that anywhere else in the county.”
The board directed representatives from the Departments of Public Works and Public Health and the Office of Emergency Management to come forward with the initial results of the investigation on Jan. 25.
Barger emphasized the importance of proactively monitoring systems that the county controls that are “often out of sight and out of mind.”
The Board gave public works workers 30 days to compile a report on the Consolidated Sewer Maintenance District, which maintains 4,600 miles of main sewerage in 37 cities and unincorporated areas. This report is expected to include information on planned infrastructure upgrades and repairs, long-term funding needs, and a plan to secure federal infrastructure funding to fund the required work.