Proposed bill for sewage report cards

March 25, 2008 12:19:48 PM PDT
A Bay Area assemblyman is proposing legislation to prevent the kind of damaging sewage spills that we saw in Marin County in January. Millions of gallons of raw and partially treated sewage seeped into Richardson Bay.

Richardson Bay in Mill Valley is where all the raw and partially treated sewage ended up. The sewer treatment plant that malfunctioned and Mill Valley Middle School are close by. The sewage bill would give grades to sewage plants. Under the proposed bill, the plant's grades would be made public.

Represantitives from Friends of the Earth and SF Bay Keeper joined co-author of the bill Assemblyman Mark Leno at Bayfront Park and showed off a sample report card that would be handed out. The plant's toxic spill forced several beaches to close including Baker Beach and Crissy Fields in San Francisco. The cause of the spill was operator error, but also storm water seeping into each sewage pipe and the aging sewage system can cause problems as well. The bill would do a lot more then just give grades.

"It also requires that for failing systems, once we've identified them, to install flow meters to identify the problems, and additionally requires internet posting of regulatory documents when it comes to waste discharges," said Assemblyman Mark Leno (D) San Francisco.

It would also hold treatment plant operators accountable and to charges fees for waste discharges to cover the costs. There is also some money from a clean water bond measure of 2002 that could be called into put this whole thing together. The bill was introduced today and it's going before a committee next month.


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