The Venice Dual Force Main Sewer Project is scheduled to be addressed by the Los Angeles City Council at its meeting Wednesday, January 13th.

In a November 23rd letter from City Engineer Gary Lee Moore to Los Angeles City Council president Eric Garcetti, Moore said that additional information to “clarify and amplify” previous information was being presented, and he urged the City Council to move forward with certification on the project.

The route that the City of Los Angeles wants to use would be beneath Via Marina and Marquesas Way in county-owned Marina del Rey, a plan that county officials, including Fourth District Supervisor Don Knabe, and residents have strongly opposed.

The proposed project involves the construction of a new 54-inch-diameter force main sewer that would cross the Grand Canal from the Venice Pumping Plant at 140 Hurricane St. easterly to Marquesas Way, then continue south along Via Marina, crossing the Marina del Rey and Ballona Creek channels to an existing coastal interceptor sewer structure on Vista del Mar lane near Waterview Street in Playa del Rey, an alignment of approximately 10,400 feet in length.

Project manager Sean Zahedi and environmental supervisor Jim Doty presented the project to the county Small Craft Harbor Commission on November 12th, 2008 and to the Marina del Rey Design Control Board in May 2008. They said that the project would take approximately 11 months to complete at a cost of $47-54 million.

The new force main would operate as a parallel system in conjunction with the existing 48-inch force main, which runs along the beach, to meet current peak wet weather flows, and to add operational flexibility and reliability, with construction tentatively set to begin in August 2010, said Zahedi.

Three separate routes were studied for the new pipeline, but Zahedi said that the California Coastal Commission would probably oppose the project being built on the beach since environmental standards are higher than they were when the original pipeline was built.

Another option was for Pacific Avenue in Venice, but Moore stated in his letter that the “Bureau of Engineering has documented the basis for its position that construction along the Pacific Avenue alignment would substantially close Pacific Avenue.”

Zahedi said that the new force main is needed because during severe wet weather, peak flows to the Venice Pumping Plant have exceeded the capacity of the old existing force main that carries wastewater away from the plant, with a risk of spilling onto city streets and surface waters.

Because the existing sewer line carries all of the wastewater away from the plant and is in constant use, there is no way to inspect the pipeline for leaks or corrosion or to shut it down for inspection and maintenance, he said.

On February 10th, Knabe provided additional comments regarding the validity of the project’s environmental impact report (EIR), requesting that the city amend and recirculate the EIR and then select the Pacific Avenue alternative as the preferred alignment.

On July 9th, four county department heads sent a joint letter expressing similar concerns, according to Moore’s letter.

While California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) guidelines set forth specific conditions under which an EIR must be recirculated for public comment, city staff has considered the concerns and comments received to date and determined that recirculation of the EIR is not required by the guidelines, Moore said in the letter.

“City staff will continue to work with county staff and to reach out to all stakeholders throughout the life of this project to produce the best project,” Moore stated in his letter.

The report is online at http://cityclerk.lacity.org/, by entering 08-0504 in “Criteria — simple search,” and then clicking on “Report from Public Works: Engineering (11/23/09).”

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