To protect public health and the environment through innovative and cost effective wastewater and solid waste management, and in doing so convert waste into resources such as recycled water, energy, and recycled materials.
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Who We Are And What We Do For You
The Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County are a confederation of 24 independent special districts that provide environmentally sound, cost-effective wastewater and solid waste management for approximately 5.6 million people in Los Angeles County. The Sanitation Districts’ service area covers approximately 800 square miles and encompasses 78 cities and unincorporated territory within the County. The Districts were formed under the authority provided by the County Sanitation District Act of 1923 (the Act), which authorized the formation of sanitation districts based on topographical boundaries that determine efficient wastewater management, rather than political boundaries. As authorized by the Act, the Districts’ role is to construct, operate, and maintain facilities to collect, treat, and dispose of wastewater and industrial wastes. Following a 1949 amendment to the Act, the Districts were empowered to provide solid waste management and disposal services including refuse transfer and resource recovery. In general, local sewers and laterals that connect to the Districts’ trunk sewers and solid waste collection are the responsibility of the local jurisdictions within the Districts’ service area. The Districts’ service area and wastewater facilities are shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1 Sanitation Districts Service Area
The 24 individual districts work cooperatively with one another under a Joint Administration Agreement (JAA) with one administrative staff headquartered near the City of Whittier. Each District has its own Board of Directors, usually consisting of the presiding officers of the governing bodies of each local jurisdiction located within that District (typically the mayor of each City and the Chair of the County Board of Supervisors for county unincorporated territory). In limited situations where there are less than three jurisdictions within a District, one of the local jurisdictions may have more than one representative on the Board of Directors in conformance with the Health and Safety Code, Section 4730. The list of the cities in each District is provided in Table 1. Each District pays its proportionate share of joint administrative costs.
Alhambra, Artesia, Bell, Bellflower, Bell Gardens, Cerritos, Commerce, Compton, Downey, Long Beach, Los Angeles City, Montebello, Monterey Park, Norwalk, Paramount, Pico Rivera, San Gabriel, South Gate, Vernon, Whittier, Los Angeles County
Culver City, El Segundo, Gardena, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Lawndale, Lomita, Los Angeles City, Manhattan Beach, Palos Verdes Estates, Rancho Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, Rolling Hills, Rolling Hills Estates, Torrance, Los Angeles County
Arcadia, Baldwin Park, Bradbury, Duarte, El Monte, Industry, Irwindale, La Puente, Monrovia, Montebello, Monterey Park, Pasadena, Rosemead, San Gabriel, San Marino, Sierra Madre, South El Monte, Temple City, West Covina, Whittier, Los Angeles County
El Segundo, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Palos Verdes Estates, Rancho Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, Rolling Hills Estates, Torrance
Collectively, the Districts own, operate, and maintain 1,400 miles of main trunk sewers and 11 wastewater treatment plants, which manage approximately 425 million gallons per day (mgd). Of this total, approximately 37% (160 mgd) is treated to a level that is suitable for reuse in the dry Southern California climate. This wastewater system is divided into three major categories (as discussed below): the Joint Outfall System, outlying Districts (consisting of the Antelope and Santa Clarita Valleys), and Districts that contract with the City of Los Angeles. The level of treatment, capacity, and current flows being treated at each of the wastewater treatment facilities is shown in Table 2. The Districts also operate two active landfills, four landfill energy recovery facilities, two recycle centers, a transfer station, and two materials recovery facilities; maintain four closed landfills; participate in the operation of two refuse-to-energy facilities; and have developed one remote landfill site.
In conformance with the Districts’ regional approach to administration, 17 of the Districts are signatory to the Joint Outfall Agreement (JOA), an agreement that provides for collective ownership and operation of shared wastewater conveyance, treatment and disposal facilities. These 17 Districts (Nos. 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 23, 28, 29, and 34 and South Bay Cities) are known collectively as the Joint Outfall Districts (JOD). District No. 2 is the appointed agent for all of the signatory Districts with respect to matters necessary to carry out the purposes of the JOA. The JOD are located in the central, southern, and eastern portions of the county. The JOD extend south from the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains to the Palos Verdes Peninsula and are bounded on the east by Orange and San Bernardino counties, on the west by the cities of Glendale and Los Angeles, and Santa Monica Bay, and on the south by San Pedro Bay.
The JOD have constructed a regional, interconnected system of wastewater conveyance and treatment facilities known as the Joint Outfall System (JOS). The JOS provides wastewater treatment and disposal service for residential, commercial, and industrial users. It currently consists of seven wastewater treatment plants, more than 509 miles of trunk sewers, and 12 pumping plants. In addition to the collectively-owned facilities, the individual Districts own a combined total of 745 miles of sewers and 36 pumping plants. The seven wastewater treatment plants included in the JOS are: the Joint Water Pollution Control Plant (JWPCP) located in the City of Carson, the Pomona Water Reclamation Plant (PWRP) located in the City of Pomona, the San Jose Creek Water Reclamation Plant (SJCWRP) located adjacent to the City of Industry, the Whittier Narrows Water Reclamation Plant (WNWRP) located near the City of South El Monte, the Los Coyotes Water Reclamation Plant (LCWRP) located in the City of Cerritos, the Long Beach Water Reclamation Plant (LBWRP) located in the City of Long Beach, and the La Cañada Water Reclamation Plant located in the City of La Cañada Flintridge. The WRPs, located upstream of JWPCP, provide hydraulic relief of the downstream conveyance, treatment, and disposal system. The water reclaimed at these plants is either utilized for beneficial reuse or discharged to the San Gabriel River, the Rio Hondo River, or their tributaries, all of which eventually flow to the Pacific Ocean.
Santa Clarita Valley
The Santa Clarita Valley is serviced by two separate Sanitation Districts. The Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District (SCVSD) primarily serves the City of Santa Clarita and the surrounding unincorporated County areas of Stevenson Ranch and Castaic. The Newhall Ranch Sanitation District (NRSD) will serve the unincorporated County area of the proposed Newhall Ranch development. See Figure 2 for a map of each District’s respective service area.
Figure 2 Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District Service Area
Originally, the area covered by SCVSD was serviced by two Sanitation Districts. District No. 26, formed in 1962, served the eastern half of the Valley while District No. 32, formed in 1965, served the western half of the Valley. Each District was independent of the other and was serviced by its own wastewater treatment plant. In the case of District No. 26, treatment was provided at the Saugus WRP, located on Springbrook Avenue near the intersection of Magic Mountain Parkway and Bouquet Canyon Road. In the case of District No. 32, treatment was provided at the Valencia WRP, located on The Old Road north of Magic Mountain Parkway.
As the Valley grew in the early 1980’s, the amount of sewage generated in District No. 26 began to exceed the capacity of the Saugus WRP. Because of the surrounding topography, including the nearby hills and railroad tracks, the Saugus WRP could not be expanded. Instead, a pipeline was constructed to carry the excess sewage over to the Valencia WRP for treatment. A formal agreement was signed between the two Districts in 1984, creating a regional system and documenting how costs were to be shared. In 2005, as a step for increasing efficiency and eliminating duplicative administrative overhead, the two Districts were consolidated and the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District was born.
Today, the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District provides sewerage service to 250,000 residents and businesses located in Santa Clarita and the surrounding unincorporated area. It is governed by a Board of Directors consisting of the mayor of Santa Clarita, a second city council member from Santa Clarita, and the chairperson of the County Board of Supervisors. It treats nearly 20 million gallons of sewage a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The sewerage system currently consists of an interconnected network of over 42 miles of trunk sewers, one pumping plant, and two sewage treatment plants.
The Newhall Ranch Sanitation District (NRSD) was formed by the County Board of Supervisors to address the sewage treatment needs of the proposed Newhall Ranch development. This District is directly adjacent to and west of the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District. On September 10, 2014, NRSD became signatory to the Joint Administration Agreement for purposes of greater efficiency and staff sharing. However, it is an independent District with its own proposed treatment plant and is responsible for all of its own financial matters.
Although NRSD will ultimately have its own treatment plant, there is an agreement with the SCVSD that would allow up to 6,000 homes from the proposed Newhall Ranch development to receive sewage treatment at the Valencia WRP on an interim basis. The homes would only be allowed to send their sewage to the Valencia WRP until the Newhall Ranch WRP is constructed and sufficient flows exist to allow for efficient operation. Any homes connected under this agreement would be required to pay full connection fees for the capacity utilized, would be required to pay full service charges to cover the cost of treating their sewage, and would be required to construct and fund the operation of a separate chloride reduction facility to ensure that their sewage has no impact on the SCVSD’s ability to comply with the State’s chloride limit.
The Antelope Valley is serviced by two separate Sanitation Districts. District No. 14 primarily serves the City of Lancaster and a small portion of the City of Palmdale while District No. 20 serves the majority of the City of Palmdale. Each District also provides service to some of the surrounding unincorporated County area. See Figure 3 for a map of each District’s respective service area.
Figure 3 Sanitation Districts Nos. 14 and 20 Service Areas
District No. 14, formed in 1938, operates the Lancaster Water Reclamation Plant, located on Avenue D adjacent to the Antelope Valley Freeway (SR 14). The Lancaster WRP is an 18 mgd tertiary level treatment facility with effluent storage facilities to enhance the opportunities for beneficial reuse. District No. 14 also operates 75 miles of trunk sewers. The District currently provides service to approximately 160,000 people.
District No. 20, formed in 1951, operates the Palmdale WRP, located on 30th Street East between Avenues P and Q. The Palmdale WRP is a 12 mgd tertiary level treatment facility with effluent storage facilities to enhance the opportunities for beneficial reuse. District No. 20 also operates nearly 41 miles of trunk sewers. The District currently provides service to approximately 150,000 people.
Because the Antelope Valley is a closed basin with no natural outlet, all of the recycled water produced by the two treatment plants must remain within the Valley. To ensure long-term effluent management capability and to maximize reuse, the two Districts have purchased over 5,000 acres (shown in Figure 3) that are leased to local farmers. The farmers, in turn, irrigate their fodder crops with the recycled water. The two Districts are also working with the Cities of Lancaster and Palmdale to develop additional municipal reuse opportunities.
Three of the Districts (Nos. 4, 9, and 27), because of their locations, contract with the City of Los Angeles for wastewater treatment. These Districts directly pay the City of Los Angeles their proportionate share of the costs of the service provided to them.