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L.A. County places stormwater measure on November ballot

Peck Water Conservation Park, a project that could be funded by L.A. County's Safe Clean Water Program. The program was approved by L.A. County voters during the Nov. 6 election. Photo by Phoenix Tso.


Alhambra , CA United States

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a ballot measure on Tuesday that would raise money for stormwater capture and treatment.

Known as the Safe Clean Water Program, the measure would levy a parcel tax on L.A. County residences that would raise money to not only better capture rainwater for local use, but to treat polluted water as well, making it safer for people to drink and use for recreational activities at the county’s beaches and other natural space.

“The Safe Clean Water Program is a smarter water system for L.A.” said County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who co-wrote the measure with County Supervisor Hilda Solis. Proponents of the measure said that such funding was needed to address drought conditions in L.A. County and to ensure compliance with the federal Clean Water Act. This law requires municipalities to obtain permits to discharge pollutants into bodies of water.

Alhambra currently has to spend $167 million over 20 years on stormwater permits. The city is currently installing special piping at a parking lot at Stoneman Avenue and Main Street for stormwater capture and treatment, said David Dolphin, an environmental compliance manager at the City’s of Alhambra’s utilities department. There is also a regional project at Almansor Park that could be funded by this parcel tax.

Two-thirds of L.A. County voters would have to approve the measure in order for it take effect. The money raised would go to regional and local stormwater capture and treatment projects.

Kathryn Barger, who represents Alhambra at the county level, was the only county supervisor to oppose the measure, saying that she would support a measure that would only ensure federal stormwater compliance, but that with other funding measures for libraries, fire and other departments coming up, a tax like this would not be fiscally responsible.

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