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Don’t Cover Reservoirs, Coalition Asks L.A.

Times Staff Writer

As the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power proceeds with plans to cover reservoirs, citizens’ groups from neighborhoods near six of the artificial lakes have formed a citywide organization to fight the proposals.

The Coalition to Preserve Open Reservoirs, which first met formally last week, has convinced Mayor Tom Bradley to form an advisory committee on the issue.

Local residents’ associations are also backing Councilman Michael Woo’s request to grant cultural monument status to Silver Lake and Hollywood reservoirs in an attempt to stall the DWP’s efforts there.

The city utility is reviewing 10 small reservoirs, from 3.2 to 14.6 acres, as candidates for metal roofs or rubber covers to minimize exposure to potential health hazards.

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Concern Over Cancer

Concerns range from bird droppings and trash in the water to cancer-causing trihalomethanes, compounds formed when algae combines with chlorine used to treat the water.

Filtration plants, which are much more expensive than covers, are to be built at reservoirs larger than 70 acres.

Some of the small reservoirs are neighborhood landmarks. Those who jog and bicycle around them or who live in homes that overlook them question the necessity for covers that would alter the character of their communities.

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The six reservoirs with which the coalition is concerned are Ivanhoe, Upper Hollywood, Upper Stone Canyon, Rowena, Santa Ynez and Elysian.

By late spring, officials of the utility expect to complete an environmental impact report for a rubber cover on Santa Ynez Reservoir and a draft report for a metal roof on Elysian Reservoir. They will probably formally announce the start of a similar process for Upper Stone Canyon Reservoir, said Thomas M. Erb, the water system environmental affairs coordinator.

Advisory Committee

Final decisions on each reservoir will be made by the five-member Board of Water and Power Commissioners, appointed by the mayor.

Meanwhile, Bradley also will convene an advisory committee, including coalition members and people from other parts of the city, mayoral aide Art Gastelum said after a meeting with coalition representatives.

“The mayor’s position is that these new standards are proposed standards, and we don’t want the department moving until state standards are actually adopted,” Gastelum said. “But the department should continue with the (reports). It obviously is cheaper to do it now.”

The city’s Cultural Heritage Commission is scheduled to discuss monument status for Silver Lake/Ivanhoe and Upper and Lower Hollywood reservoirs Wednesday.


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