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EPA AND THE STATE ORDER SAN DIEGO TO DEVELOP TREATMENT PLAN

 EPA AND THE STATE ORDER SAN DIEGO TO DEVELOP TREATMENT PLAN
 SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) today ordered the city of San Diego to begin preparations for treating its wastewater to remove harmful bacteria in effluent that is flowing from a broken underwater pipe to the ocean off Point Loma. The California Environmental Protection Agency's Regional Water Quality Control Board, San Diego Region, is also expected to take similar action today.
 "The protection of both human health and the marine environment is uppermost in our minds," said Daniel W. McGovern, U.S. EPA's regional administrator. "Our goal with this order is to protect human health by preparing to treat the sewage effluent while also protecting the marine environment by minimizing residues of the treatment process."
 The U.S. EPA is requiring San Diego to be ready to treat its effluent within 24 hours of notice. Before proceeding with treatment, the U.S. EPA must approve the new treatment plans and will determine the level of threat to human health from the effluent.
 "The Department of Fish and Game normally is very concerned about the impacts of chlorine discharges on marine life," said Howard Sarasohn, deputy director for the California Department of Fish and Game. "However, a level of .02 milligrams per liter should be low enough to protect marine life from the harmful effects of chlorine."
 The orders require that when San Diego begins treatment of its effluent, that most of the chemicals used in this treatment process be removed before the sewage is discharged to the ocean to ensure that marine life is not harmed by chemical residues.
 "The decision to order the city to begin treatment will be based upon thorough review of water quality conditions in the quarantine area and an evaluation of the effectiveness of the treatment process," said Mike McCann, assistant executive officer for the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board.
 The orders mandate that if San Diego chooses to use chlorine to treat its effluent, that residual chlorine levels not exceed is consistent with the limit in the California Ocean Plan, and is endorsed by the California Department of Fish and Game.
 Within seven days of receipt of the orders, San Diego must:
 -- submit to the U.S. EPA and the Regional Board a report
 detailing the city's treatment program and what type of
 treatment would be used;
 -- submit to the U.S. EPA and the Regional Board a proposed
 monitoring program to evaluate the environmental impacts
 of San Diego's discharge; and,
 -- prohibit recreational activities in the kelp beds off
 Point Loma, including sport fishing, diving and surfing.
 About 170 million gallons of the partially treated sewage has been discharged per day from a break in the outfall about three-quarters of a mile offshore and in 35 feet of water. The effluent contains high levels of bacterial contaminants and is a health threat to recreational users of the ocean and to those who consume fish and shellfish harvested in the area.
 -0- 2/11/92
 /CONTACT: Lois Grunwald of U.S. EPA, 415-744-1588/ CO: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ST: California IN: SU:


RM -- SF012 -- 9025 02/11/92 19:10 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Feb 11, 1992
Words:538
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