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City Might Take Over Water Operations

At the urging of a citizens watchdog group, officials from the Mesa Consolidated Water District and the city of Costa Mesa have agreed to meet today to consider having the city take over water operations.

Mayor Joe Erickson said the city agreed to the meeting because it is city policy to discuss any issues brought forth by Costa Mesa residents.

In a letter to the City Council, members of the Coalition for Clean Water-Costa Mesa, the watchdog group, asserted that the city should consider absorbing the water district based on the “numerous acts of impropriety” that have come to light in recent months.

Alleging mismanagement at the district, the Coalition for Clean Water pointed to the $170,000 the district spent last year to settle two claims made by female employees who said they were sexually harassed on the job.

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The district also paid about $50,000 to put mufflers on the water pumps at the district’s new reservoir when it was discovered they were causing nearby homes to vibrate.

But district officials said the complaints lodged against them by the Coalition for Clean Water are unfair. In the wake of the sexual harassment settlements, the board toughened the district’s sexual harassment policy. Last month, the reservoir was given a clean bill of health by an independent engineering firm.

The City Council also will discuss taking over the district at its meeting next week.


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