The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is planning to more than double the capacity of the Glendale-Los Angeles sewage treatment plant.
The expansion plan, unveiled last week at a sparsely attended public meeting in southern Glendale, is part of a broad strategy by the city of Los Angeles to increase sewage treatment capacity throughout its service area.
Last Thursday's meeting was one of four informational workshops in the Los Angeles Basin aimed at preparing citizens for public meetings on the expansion plans. The public meetings are to begin Aug. 29 at Los Angeles City Hall.
The 10 to 15 neighbors who attended the Glendale meeting seemed largely unconcerned by the plant expansion and more eager to tour the facility.
Just southeast of the Glendale border next to the Los Angeles River, the Los Angeles-Glendale sewage treatment plant is jointly owned by both cities and is operated by the Los Angeles Department of Public Works.
Its treatment capacity is 20 million gallons per day. After the expansion, its capacity would be 50 million gallons per day.
Cost of the expansion is estimated at $75 million, to be paid over five years, starting in 1990. As half-owner of the plant, Glendale has the option of buying into the expansion project.
Glendale presently treats about 18 million gallons of sewage per day, said George Miller, city public works director. About 10 million gallons per day are treated at the local plant; the rest passes through Los Angeles' Hyperion system.
"If we buy into the plant expansion, we won't need to send sewage to the Hyperion plant," Miller said. "There are certain trade-offs we need to consider."
Walter Naydo, head of the DWP design division, told residents that the expansion is needed because by the year 2010, the Los Angeles service area will have a projected sewage flow of 575 million gallons per day.
That is more than double the service area's present treatment capacity. Even after facilities in the approved expansion plans are constructed, the system will remain 135 million gallons short of meeting the anticipated demand. The service area includes Glendale, Burbank, Culver City, El Segundo and Beverly Hills.
As a result, Naydo said, the Glendale-Los Angeles plant must expand. He assured residents that the expansion would not affect them, except for the initial noise and inconvenience caused by construction.
Audience members munched on cookies, sipped coffee and seemed largely unconcerned. Maria Gallardo, who lives across the street from the plant, complained half-heartedly about the odors that she said it emits regularly.
Plant manager Clarence Mansell replied that he would look into it. He invited Gallardo to visit the plant and sniff about to see if she recognized the odor that had invaded her house.
Gallardo jumped at the invitation. "That would be great!" she said. "I'll put a big group together for the tour. I know a lot of my neighbors would be interested."
Glendale officials did not attend the meeting and said they will not oppose the expansion. "It was always part of the plan," Miller said. "When the plant was built, it was designed for expansion to 50 million gallons per day. We expected this all along."
Miller said his staff is evaluating whether Glendale should buy into the expansion plan or leave it to Los Angeles to pay for the entire project.
This year, Glendale will pay Los Angeles $1.2 million for its share of running the plant, plus $1.4 million for the sewage it contributes to the Hyperion system, Miller said. Glendale will pay $12 million for improvements to the Hyperion system.