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U.S. EPA Issues Sewer Order to Carpinteria

Release Date: 10/3/2002
Contact Information: Lisa Fasano, U.S. EPA, (415) 947-4307

     The move requires  that the city end sewage spills

     SAN FRANCISCO   The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it has formally ordered the Carpinteria Sanitary District to create a plan that will stop sewer spills in the city.
     Carpinteria operates its sewer system under a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit issued by the state Regional Water Quality Control Board. The permit prohibits the discharge of raw sewage. The federal Clean Water Act also prohibits discharging raw sewage to "navigable waterways" such as the Pacific Ocean.

     Between July 1997 and June 24, 2002, the Carpinteria Sanitary District reported 31 sewage spills and 17 of those were to waters of the U.S.  The CSD reported three spills in calendar year 2000; five spills in calendar year 2001; and three spills between Jan. 1 and June 24, 2002. CSD had 14 spills during 1998, with many resulting from El Nino storms overwhelming the capacity of CSD sewers and pump stations.

     The EPA determined sewage spills from CSD pump stations are caused by inflow and  infiltration or inadequate pumping capacity during heavy rainfall as well as a failure of overflow systems. Spills from CSD collection pipes are caused by poorly constructed force mains and blockages of gravity sewer lines which are primarily caused by roots, debris and grease build-ups.

     "Officials from the sanitary district are aware of the problem and are already taking steps to solve it," said Wayne Nastri, regional administrator of the EPA's Pacific Southwest office."We are looking for CSD to make the commitment to complete necessary improvements. We hope this order will serve as the basis for that commitment."

The CSD hired a consultant to perform a study to assess the condition of the system. The plan recommends priorities for rehabilitation and replacement of lines and pump stations. The study produced a recommended five-year capital improvement program to address the needs found in the condition assessment. The report also recommends additional studies and inspections to assess the condition of the collection system. In addition, the Carpinteria Sanitary District is replacing a pump and the pressurized sewer pipe that has been the cause of several spills.

With this order, the CSD must implement a Sewage Spill Reduction Action Plan by March 2003 that includes an assessment of inflow and infiltration into the system that occurs during rain, a program to renovate some of the pump stations and pipes and a plan to control of grease clogs in the sewer pipes.

For more information about sewer spills visit these Web sites: