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Public comment sought on $430,000 stormwater settlement

The public can comment on a settlement document related to sediment from the Encinitas Community Park entering downstream waterways.

The California Regional Water Quality Control Board levied the $430,851 fine two years ago, stating that the city and park contractor, USS Cal Builders, had faulty drainage controls. Because of this, rains twice pushed sediment from the park into Rossini Creek and then the mouth of San Elijo Lagoon.

After months of negotiations, the city of Encinitas in February waived a public hearing and agreed to the full fine amount. Now, the water board will consider adopting the settlement sometime this summer and is inviting the public to comment on the matter.

Written comments must be submitted to sandiego@waterboards.ca.gov by 5 p.m. May 13. The subject heading should read “R9-2015-0047, comments rstewart: 222765.”

According to the settlement, the city will pay $224,458 toward the water board’s cleanup and abatement program. The remaining amount — $206,393 — will go to a habitat restoration project at the San Elijo Lagoon.

Yet to be determined is how much USS Cal Builders will have to pay. Interim City Manager Larry Watt said this week negotiations are ongoing.

Rebecca Stewart, a sanitary engineering associate with the water board’s San Diego office, said the two discharges potentially affected insects and marine life.

“It’s difficult to say what the actual impacts were,” Stewart said. “We know what potential impacts are from sediment discharges.”

Stewart said public comments will be included in a report to the water board on the issue.

The full settlement document can be found at www.waterboards.ca.gov/sandiego.


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