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E.C. City Council solves waste dilemma

February 16, 2002|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

The City Council of El Centro voted Wednesday to come to the rescue of county residents and businesses that have purportedly been left without a place to send their septic tank waste.

The council was informed by Mark Johnston, of county Environmental Health Services, that the cities of Calexico and Westmorland have stopped accepting the waste stream and should the septic tanks overflow it could pose a health problem.

"The public health implication is quite serious," Johnston said.

Johnston said the city of Westmorland is constructing a new facility to accept the waste stream but will not be accessible for about 30 days. He said the city of Calexico has cut off the waste stream but might renew the process.

Not so, said Calexico City Manager Rich Inman.

"We're taking it," Inman said this morning after consulting with his public works director. "It's a money-maker for us."

Meanwhile, at the El Centro City Council meeting, city wastewater treatment plant supervisor Randy Hines said the city could accept the waste on a temporary basis but it would be subject to immediate cutoff if there is any violation of the facility's permit.

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It was mentioned that the Calexico's wastewater treatment plant has an "unknown discharge quality problem."

El Centro City Manager Abdel Salem said El Centro has never accepted septic tank waste because of such problems.

Salem said he's been told by county officials that when the wastewater treatment plant opens later this year in the Gateway of the Americas project the waste will be taken there.

City Councilman Jack Terrazas said the three cities with wastewater treatment plants should share the burden.

In the end, city staff was directed to develop a contract to accept the waste for up to 90 days from waste haulers.

>> Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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