At its meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 11, the Laguna Beach City Council authorized the purchase of a Biological Odor Control System to control odors at the Bluebird SOCWA Lift Station (located at the end of Galen Drive near the corner of Calliope and Glenneyre Street). The equipment is part of a project to eliminate the sewer odors at the site known as the “Glenneyre Dip.”
“The smell coming from these locations is caused by decaying organic material in the raw wastewater that releases odorous compounds, such as hydrogen sulfide,” said Laguna Beach Director of Water Quality David Shissler. “These odorous compounds accumulate in the sewers and release out of the manhole covers. The purchase and installation of the Biological Odor Control System will finally help us prevent the odorous compounds from accumulating and releasing out into the neighborhood.”
Angry neighbors who live in the area from Victoria Drive down to The Montage have been sending written complaints to the city for the past 15 years about the same odors and identical condition of the wastewater system. To no avail.
My NGO, Clean Water Now, joined California River Watch in litigation nearly four years ago to remedy situations like this. The city subsequently agreed to spend $3.5 million per year for 10 years to rehabilitate the known, admittedly dilapidated, antiquated system, a definite health hazard.
The 1-mile section on/near South PCH was purported to be a prime candidate, exhibiting the same “symptoms” as Bluebird.
Drive that stretch with your windows rolled down in the early a.m., when low flows and cooler temperatures result in these gases laying down in a type of odorous, noxious fog. Smelling is believing, let your nose be your detector.
Now imagine living here, putting up with this curable nightmare year after year after year, especially in fair weather when you’d normally leave your windows open all night.
What really stinks is the city’s failure to keep its word, its vow to make this area a high priority. Go to the city’s budget allotments and expenditures these past three years: Can you find $10 million in wastewater infrastructure restoration, because I can’t. Meanwhile, we in this area are obviously “Waiting for Godot,” waiting for a rehab that’s never coming.
Roger E. Bütow, Laguna Beach, Clean Water Now Executive Director