Cash continues to flow from San Diego's coffers to pay for storm-water drain violations and to remediate pollution sites throughout the city and bay. More funds will be needed.
On May 13, the San Diego Regional Water Control Board released a settlement agreement requires the city to pay $949,634 for multiple storm-water violations found at hundreds of public and private developments throughout the city in 2010. Violations included the discharge of untreated water into the ocean and bay as well as a failure by the city to fix violations on its own capital improvement projects.
"San Diego Water Board staff routinely communicated with the City to assess the City’s efforts to bring these private and public projects into compliance,” reads a report from the regional water board. "Updates provided by the City indicated that over time it had made progress in bringing a large percentage of private projects into compliance. However, by December 2012, the City had not made any substantial progress in bringing its own public [projects] into compliance."
According to the proposal, $456,900 will be "suspended upon completion" of repair and improvement of the sites where the violations occurred. The remaining amount will be paid to the State Water Board for cleanup and abatement projects.
The near $1 million dollar settlement agreement is, however, just a drop in the bucket.
In September of last year, the city set aside $6.45 million to clean up a portion of the bay known as the Shipyards Sediment Site. Over the course of several decades, the area located in the center of the eastern shoreline, has become layered with marine waste such as hazardous metals and other pollutants from large shipping companies located in San Diego. Among the companies responsible for the contamination is the National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO), BAE Systems, San Diego Gas and Electric, Campbell Industries, the United States Navy, and the City of San Diego.
Of the $6.45 million, as of December 2013, the city has spent $372,021 on the remediation. Of course, that figure doesn't account for the five years’ worth of legal fees that the city has accrued.
In an attempt to force the major shipping companies to pony up for the expensive and extensive remediation, the city filed a lawsuit in 2009. That case is ongoing.
As for the most recent settlement offer, the water board is expected to conduct a public hearing to finalize the deal in August.