The El Segundo City Council on Thursday declared a local state of emergency and approved a lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles over ongoing problems stemming from a massive spill that dumped millions of gallons of sewage into the Santa Monica Bay and left residents with headaches and complained of stomach troubles and eye pains due to the noxious odors.
The council’s unanimous action on Thursday comes after more than a year of frustration with Los Angeles and the ongoing impact of the spill from the Hyperion water reclamation facility, El Segundo Mayor Drew Boyles said.
“When we first got the call in July 2021 about what was going on, we were in disbelief, frustrated and angry,” Boyles told The Times. “Now, 14 months later, we all feel exactly the same.”
About 17 million gallons of sewage was dumped into the Santa Monica Bay after the Playa del Rey plant failed. The resulting odors were later blamed by local residents, who said they developed skin rashes, nausea, burning eyes and other symptoms as a result.
LA prosecutors did not respond to a request for comment.
More than 1,100 odor-related complaints were filed against the facility this year, and the South Coast Air Quality Management District has reported nearly 50 violations to the facility, most of them for public nuisance.
Also on Thursday, the district issued a mandatory mitigation order at the facility to address several issues including air monitoring and established a 24-hour hotline for odor complaints.
The district alleged in its order that the Los Angeles Sewage Bureau, which operates the facility, “is unable to contain the sewage odors at Hyperion and is unable to conduct any work at the treatment plant” without violating a rule that “designates the Discharge of pollutants that may be prohibitive to cause injury or nuisance.”
According to Boyles, an ad hoc committee issued dozens of recommendations to the plant to address some issues, but “very few” were implemented.
“We were fed up and decided to finally declare a state of emergency and take legal action,” he said.
Thursday’s statement allows the city to take action and seek resources, but Boyles hopes it will “catch the attention of people who can help influence the health of the facility and get it into good operating condition.” bring”.
Pursuing a lawsuit is “a piece of cake,” he added.
“We need to get another governing body or judge to weigh this and get them to take action,” he said.
El Segundo’s lawsuit would not be the first to be filed over sewage pollution.
Earlier this year, more than 100 people living in and near El Segundo filed a lawsuit accusing the city of Los Angeles of exposing them to toxic hydrogen sulfide gas.
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-09-09/el-segundo-moves-to-sue-los-angeles-over-odor-santa-monica-bay-sewage-spill El Segundo moves to sue L.A. over odor following sewage spill