Avalon Elated Over Water Act, Sewage Plant Outlook

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Times Staff Writer

The Congressional override of President Reagan’s veto of the $20-billion extension of the Clean Water Act last week has city officials here smiling again.

“We are just tickled pink,” said Mayor Hugh T. (Bud) Smith. “This will enable us to meet time schedules to get the expanded sewer plant on line.”

The city is under a June 1, 1988, deadline imposed by the state Water Quality Control Board to enlarge the plant. It has a 500,000-gallon-a-day capacity but the daily flow has been as high as 800,000 gallons, particularly during the busy summer tourist season.


To handle the excess, the city has to release waste water into the ocean after incomplete treatment.

After Reagan killed the water bill with a pocket veto after Congress adjourned in December, city officials began looking elsewhere for the federal and state shares of the $1.5-million cost of the project. (The state’s share was to come partly from federal aid.)

But the new Congress reintroduced the bill in January and it passed quickly. The city now expects to begin construction in September on the project, which will expand the plant’s daily capacity to 1.25 million gallons.

The federal legislation authorizes $3 million for the project, but Cliff Madison, the city’s Washington lobbyist, said Congress still must approve the actual appropriation. He expects the actual amounts to be less because the federal government will provide only about 55% of the cost, or about $800,000.

Andrew Gram, a consulting engineer, said the state will pay about 32% and the city will pay the balance. The city has already sold $500,000 in bonds to finance its portion of this and other projects.

In California, the clean water legislation provides $1.3 billion for sewage system construction, including expansion of the city of Los Angeles’ Hyperion sewage treatment plant in El Segundo, as well as funding for several other projects.