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August 21, 2008

Comments

Joe

Here's news release from the city that elaborates on the spill rate by noting that sewer lateral overflows have been counted in Burlingame. The crews that respond to lateral overflows are some of the quickest of any city service.

City of Burlingame announced today that Burlingame City Council approved an Agreement with Baykeeper resolving regulatory water quality issues in dispute between the City and Baykeeper. The City concluded this Agreement will allow it to move forward with sewer maintenance programs to continue maximizing its ongoing efforts to fully comply with its regulatory requirements without expending resources in additional litigation.

Baykeeper is a San Francisco based environmental organization concerned primarily with water quality issues in the San Francisco Bay. Baykeeper has over the last several years brought numerous lawsuits against Northern California public and private waste water dischargers to the San Francisco Bay under the citizen suit provisions of the Clean Water Act.

Discussions arose between Baykeeper and the City in late 2007 concerning Baykeeper's contention that the City had a high spill rate. In order to provide high quality service to our residents, the City has been providing maintenance services to private sewer laterals from the sidewalk to the sewer main in the street and has been reporting spills from these lines to the State which no other City does in San Mateo County. If the City had not reported these very minor spills from the private laterals, our numbers would have been much lower. The City had already identified the problems and implemented a comprehensive capital improvement program through sewer rate increases. As part of the capital improvement program, the City has replaced over twenty miles of deteriorated pipes with new pipes and plans to continue this program to provide high quality service to our residents. The Agreement with Baykeeper will provide assurance that these efforts will continue.

The City's intent in entering into the Agreement was to use its resources to improve the operation of the sewage collection system and treatment plant to comply with ever more stringent regulations rather than to expend resources in litigation.

The City believes that it is proactive and is in the forefront in tackling the issues associated with operating the sewer collection system that many other agencies in the area are grappling with and this agreement will ensure continuation of those efforts in the future.

For further information you may contact Syed Murtuza, Public Works Director at (650) 558-7230.

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