Los Angeles to Maximize Water Recycling and Renewable Energy, says Mayor  
Photo courtesy of LA Sanitation
LA Waterkeeper applauds Mayor Garcetti's decisions to recycle 100% of the City's wastewater and phase out 3 coastal natural gas plants 
 
Last month, Mayor Garcetti announced that the City's three coastal power plants--Scattergood, Haynes, and Harbor--will be phased out by 2029, replaced with 100% renewable energy, and will  not  be repowered along our beloved coast!

The impetus for this announcement was due largely to all the work that your Waterkeepers have done to eliminate Once-Through-Cooling (OTC) power plants, which have devastating impacts on marine life. In 2010, thanks to California Coastkeeper Alliance's advocacy efforts, the State Water Board adopted the nation's first policy to phase out OTC in favor of modern closed-cycle cooling.  Today, 8 of the 19 power plants using OTC technology in California have phased out its use, and California Coastkeeper Alliance continues working to ensure the  remaining  11 plants follow suit.

Mayor Garcetti continued making headlines as he and Councilmember Mike Bonin announced that the City will recycle 100% of its wastewater (about 260 million gallons per day) by 2035! For years, LAW has been campaigning for the region to use purified wastewater to recharge our depleted aquifers, rather than simply dumping treated water into the ocean. This decision is a huge step toward localizing our water and reducing our dependence on costly imports! 

Newly Appointed Green Champions 
Congrats to two longtime Waterkeeper allies who have been appointed by Governor Newsom to the top environmental positions in the state!
  • Jared Blumenfeld, Secretary of California Environmental Protection Agency
  • Wade Crowfoot, Secretary of California Natural Resources Agency
Plus, three members of the LA delegation were appointed to chair three of the most important environmental committees in the CA Legislature:
  • Senator Ben Allen, Chair of Senate Committee Environmental Quality
  • Senator Henry Stern, Chair of Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water
  • Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, Chair of Assembly Committee on Natural Resources
A Delicate Balance: Optimizing LA's Water Recycling While Protecting our River
Photo courtesy of Michael Notrica: ancientfutureproductions.com
Our settlement will require Glendale to assess flow impacts as it considers recycling more and discharging less water into the LA River

Did you know  most of  the water that flows year-round through the Los Angeles River is treated wastewater discharged from 3 plants in Glendale, Burbank, and LA? These plants collect sewage and  clean it to a point that it can be safely discharged back into the River. 
 
When we heard that Glendale wanted to enhance water recycling at their upstream wastewater facility, we had mixed feelings. On one hand, recycling wastewater is a good thing that can reduce dependence on imports. On the other, recycling water upstream can dramatically impact river flows, which can significantly affect water quality and marine life. But the truth is, we don't know what the optimal flows are in our Los Angeles River, because it has yet to be studied!
 
Through the regulatory appeals process, we got the State Water Board to fund flow studies for the LA River, which will inform everyone how much water is safe to divert for recycling. However, Glendale started moving forward to amp up recycling before these studies were complete, and without publishing an Environmental Impact Report to assess possible impacts to the River. We sued over CEQA violations, and at the end of 2018, we were able to work with Glendale to reach a very positive settlement. The City agreed to a longer timeline for enhancing their recycling program, thus slowing down diversions from the River until the flows study can be completed.

LAW will continue to campaign for more research on the health of the Los Angeles River, so we can make informed decisions about wastewater reclamation that balance our need for local water supplies and the ecological integrity of our namesake waterway.
Saving This Rain...
Photo courtesy of LA County
Thanks to all who voted & promoted #YesOnW!

We are so glad to have ended 2018  with  this historic win for clean water. As part of the OurWaterLA coalition, we're working hard to ensure Measure W is implemented in a way that  optimizes its value for all Angelenos.  Ultimately, that me ans funding is directed to nature-based stormwater capture projects that promote equity, good jobs, climate resilience, and more. Currently, the County is working to fill numerous committees and we're submitting our nominations. Stay tuned for ways you can get involved!
Please welcome our new legal extern,
Kristin McCarthy!
Kristin is a recent east-coast transplant who has dreamed of living in southern California since childhood. She is a third-year law student at William & Mary Law School, where she is studying environmental law and is a staff member on the William & Mary Law Review, former president of the Student Environmental and Animal Law Society, and board member of the Public Service Fund. Kristin's prior legal experience includes work in Los Angeles at the California Attorney General's office and at the law firm Greenberg Traurig... Read More