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Release Date: 8/19/2002
Contact Information: Mark Merchant, U.S. EPA,(415) 947-4297, John Pietig (949) 497-0754

     Money earmarked for sewer line replacement and rehabilitation

SAN FRANCISCO  In a ceremony in Laguna Beach, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency presented the City of Laguna Beach with $873,000 in federal funds for replacement and rehabilitation of part of the city’s aging sewer lines.

Laguna Beach Mayor Wayne Baglin accepted the award from Wayne Nastri, regional administrator of the EPA’s Pacific Southwest office in San Francisco. The money was included in this year’s federal budget.

The federal funds will be combined with city funds for a total of $1.6 million for sewer system repairs over the next year.

Portions of the city’s sewer system date back to the 1930. In 2001, the City of Laguna Beach had second worst record of sewer spills of 30 communities surveyed in depth by the EPA and more spills than any other community between Los Angeles and the Mexico border.

In March 2002, the EPA and the city identified 17 miles of sewer lines in need of replacement or rehabilitation. In addition, 26 pump stations are part of the city’s sewer system and are also in need of rehabilitation.

The city is very grateful for the EPA’s assistance with rehabilitating our sewer system and has adopted a zero tolerance policy toward sewer spills. Our beaches serve Laguna residents and approximately three million visitors per year. The repairs will contribute to safe water recreation for all and prevent beach closures in the future, said Mayor Baglin

The EPA and the city have determined that the main cause of sewer spills in Laguna Beach are roots in the system. This accounts for more than 50 percent of the 29 public and private sewer spills in 2001. The second leading cause in 2001 was grease, which was responsible for 17 percent of the spills.

In addition to committing city funds to replacement and rehabilitation of sewer lines, Laguna Beach officials have already taken steps to reducing the number of sewer spills.

I commend the city for its superb effort to reduce spills over the past year, for responding very quickly where spills have occurred, and for preventing sewage from reaching the beaches, said Administrator Nastri.  This has been a remarkable record of improvement because until last year, the city had one of the worst spill rates of almost any we examined.

For more information about sewer spills and the envrironment in Laguna Beach, visit: