GrokSurf's San Diego

Local observations on water, environment, technology, law & politics

San Diego’s waiver on sewage treatment

Posted by George J Janczyn on October 9, 2009

After the California Coastal Commission voted overwhelmingly in August to deny San Diego’s request to continue its exemption from having to provide secondary treatment at its Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant, I expected San Diego’s subsequent appeal to also fail, but Wednesday the commission reversed its decision. At first I wondered if San Diego’s threat to appeal to the U.S. Commerce Department was a factor, but it was also interesting that the waiver was supported by the Surfrider Foundation, San Diego Coastkeeper and the Sierra Club (the U-T article did make a passing reference to those groups’ support). With their support, the commission’s decision is a little easier to understand.

Mark Gold provides a closer look at the politics behind this decision in his Spouting Off blog post. As he said, “Their support wasn’t borne out of nostalgia to keep sewage treatment at the Third World level.” The long-term logic behind the environmental groups’ deal (although Mark refers to it as “milquetoast”) becomes clear: reduce sewage outflow and increase water supply at the same time through more aggressive recycling.

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