Since before 1999, Aliso Creek has been the subject of multiple, expensive studies alarmed by erosion of SOCWA sewage pipes buried beside the creek. We have become habituated to a failing sewage system while awaiting the next major sewage spill without a plan.
Fifteen years of studies do not fix problems. As a precautionary measure to protect Laguna Beach and the local robust coastal economy, secondary sewage flows from inland cities should be diverted to inland SOCWA treatment plants for reuse as recycled water for irrigation, wildfire suppression and drought mitigation. We are wasting water during a prolonged statewide drought.
Inland sewage can also be re-directed to the San Juan Ocean outfall, which is not proximate to the Laguna state marine reserve. Alternatively, inland tertiary treatment of existing sewage flows will insure any major sewage spill will not pollute Laguna Beach.
Discharging wastewater through a sewage system known to be deficient and subject to erosion is risking significant pollution of Aliso Creek and coastal receiving waters. Polluting coastal waters with secondary sewage to dolphin foraging grounds and California gray whale migration routes is environmentally irresponsible and likely illegal.
We need to step up dialogue with SOCWA and city leaders to compel them to take immediate action to address this obvious threat to public health, wildlife and sea life.
Mike Beanan, Laguna Beach