Water Board Raises Fine Against L.A. for Sewage Spilled in Ocean


The Los Angeles Regional Regional Water Quality Board voted to raise a fine levied against the city of Los Angeles to $150,000 for two spills that caused raw sewage to contaminate the ocean, the board’s executive director said.

“These spills were avoidable, they didn’t have to happen,” said Dennis Dickerson.

Last April, about 60,000 gallons of raw sewage overflowed from a sewer maintenance manhole along Pacific Coast Highway into a storm drain which emptied into the Santa Monica Bay.

Due to a communications delay, there was a lapse of several hours before the county Department of Health Services was notified and the beach was closed, Dickerson said.


Then in November, a diesel-powered sewage pump ran out of fuel, dumping about 90,000 gallons of sewage into the Los Angeles River, which flows into the ocean, he said.

The city contested the board’s the initial fine of $35,000, saying it was too high. But when the board reviewed the case, it decided to increase the fine more than fourfold.

“The board felt that the penalty was too low as originally assessed; that the facts of the situation warranted a higher penalty,” Dickerson said.