Sewage spill brings fines



The South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District plans to dispute a $1.38 million fine levied by the Central Coast Water Board.

The fine stems from fierce storms in December 2010 that flooded the district’s electrical equipment, triggering a chain of events that caused hundreds of thousands of gallons of sewage from a treatment plant to spill into a residential neighborhood in Oceano.

Water Board officials claim the district failed to comply with sections of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act. District officials were given the option to either pay the fine or bring the dispute to a public hearing scheduled for Sept. 6 at the Central Coast Water Board office in San Luis Obispo.

The district plans to fight.

“The South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District is sincerely disappointed that this isolated spill from a December 2010 storm incident could not have been amicably resolved, and vehemently disagrees with the excessive fine being proposed by the Water Board’s Prosecution Team that will be charged against its ratepayers,” Michael Seitz, the district’s attorney, said in an e-mail. “… This unusual flood event triggered the District’s first sewer spill in more than 25 years.”

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