The city of Compton will pay more than $160,000 in fines to settle allegations that raw sewage and other pollutants were spilled into Compton Creek at least eight times from 2010 to 2013, the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board announced Tuesday.
Board officials contended that sewage overflows resulted in pollutants being dumped into the creek, and that the city failed on three of the eight occasions to report the spills.
Compton City Manager Jerry Groomes issued a statement saying the city is committed to preventing any sewage spills, but “regrettably, several years ago, it failed to meet that high standard.” He said the overflows resulted in spills totaling 9,750 gallons.
As part of a settlement agreement with the board, the city will pay $161,019 to the State Water Pollution Cleanup and Abatement Account. Groomes said the payment will be made by the end of the month.
The city is also liable for another $107,346 in fines, but that penalty will be suspended if the city completes upgrades to its sewer system, including monitoring systems, according to the board.
According to the board, the upgrades must include video analysis of the sewer system to identify areas that may be in need of repair; sewer system inspections every 90 days; quarterly reports to the Regional Water Board; implementation of a root-control program; and hiring of two full-time employees to work on the sewer system.
“We continue to work to improve the older sewer systems in our region, such as Compton’s, that pose serious threats to public health and the environment,” said Samuel Unger, executive officer of the Regional Water Board. “The action we’ve taken against Compton and other municipalities in our region that have faced similar issues, will help the city reduce its risk for sewage spills by upgrading infrastructure and putting protocols in place to guard against overflows.”
Groomes said the city also plans to complete a number of capital improvement projects over the next decade and will update its Sanitary Sewer Master Plan within six months.
“The city has already fulfilled several of these commitments and is well on the way to fulfilling the others,” he said.
He noted that the city’s wastewater system includes more than 175 miles of sewer lines, many of which are more than 50 years old. He said the city “supports and is committed to a zero-tolerance policy relative to sanitary sewer overflows.”
—City News Service