Senate Bill 485 Signed into Law

October 1, 2015

Cities have Option to Partner with Sanitation Districts on Stormwater Projects

by: Civic Publications, Inc.

Cities throughout Los Angeles County have a new potential partner to help them create federally mandated stormwater and urban runoff programs.  California Governor Jerry Brown in October signed Senate Bill 485, which gives the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County authorization to provide technical support to cities or groups of cities to capture and treat stormwater.  California State Senator Ed Hernandez, D-Azusa, authored the legislation, which goes into effect in January.  He said he learned of the concerns that cities within his district were having regarding unfunded, stormwater-related mandates.  

"We do need clean  water that goes into our oceans, but unfortunately that has seemed to be at the expense of our cities,"said Senator Hernandez.  "I felt it was really important to address the issue."  Under SB 485, each of the 24 Sanitation Districts is allowed to acquire, construct, operate, maintain and furnish facilities on behalf of the cities or county with which they partner.  The projects may range form diverting stormwater and dry weather runoff from the stormwater drainage system, to managing and treating the stormwater, to discharging the water to the stormwater drainage system.  

Grace Hyde, Chief Engineer and General Manager of the Sanitation Districts, said stormwater management has long been an issue of concern for the agency. 

"Senator Hernandez made our Board's vision a reality," she said.

Ken Farsing, interim City Manager of Carson, said the legislation allows individual cities and the county to benefit from the Districts' extensive experience and water quality scientists, engineers and laboratories- something nearly none of the 88 cities in the county have.

"It's pretty innovative and creates an additional tool for cities in terms of their watershed management plans," he said.

Under SB 485, cities will not have to be required to participate in partnerships with the Sanitation Districts.  Officials, however, said they are pleased the opportunity for assistance is now available to help cities meet their watershed management goals.

(Sustainable Living- Fall 2015, (Page 6 and 14) is an advertising supplement to the LA Times)