L.A. Grapples with Changing EPA Regs

by David R. Miller, (F.ASCE), Consulting Engr. and Mgmt. Consultant; Salt Lake City, Utah,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1984, Vol. 54, Issue 6, Pg. 52-55

Document Type: Feature article


Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) studies indicate that between now and the year 2000 an additional $117 billion will be needed to accommodate projected growth and to meet water quality standards. As these needs grew, major changes in EPA legislation changed the federal role and funding assistance, forcing the nation's municipalities to re-think their priorities. The amount of time and the cost required for wastewater treatment plants to come on line has increased markedly. Two case studies provide examples of these effects. The Donald C. Tillman Water Reclamation Plant, close to completion in Southern California, required 13 years and $85 million for its planning, design, construction and implementation. The plant, built largely with federal funds, cost three times original estimates. In the 1950s, when federal regulations were less complex, the City of Los Angeles passed a bond issue of $47 million to expand the Hyperion Sewage Plant. Most of the construction was completed in four years, within the original budget. The project proceeded without regulatory hangups. The Hyperion Plant has been operated successfully for more than 20 years. On the other hand, EPA used its funding as a lever to force the City of Los Angeles to adopt growth limitation policies and to discontinue the disposal of digested sludge into the ocean.

Subject Headings: Wastewater treatment plants | Environmental Protection Agency | Water quality | Financing | Case studies | Water reclamation | Urban areas | Standards and codes | California | United States | Los Angeles

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