"I'm hopeful that this puts one responsible entity in control of
making sure that the water flowing into San Diego Creek is as clean as
modern technology can make it," Campbell said Monday. "The things they
are talking about doing look like good and practical solutions."
While details of the proposal are still being worked out, water
district officials have floated several ideas for reducing sediment and
nitrate levels in urban runoff into the Back Bay.
A handful of governmental agencies -- including Newport Beach, Irvine,
Tustin and Orange County -- now oversee runoff into San Diego Creek and
"What we're trying to do is to have a more systematic approach," said
Norris Brandt, assistant to the water district's general manager. "We
would be more involved in some of the different things that are being
Brandt has been charged with drafting the bill's specific language.
Once the draft is complete, Campbell said he would introduce it as an
amended version of Assembly Bill 810 -- a "spot bill" he introduced in
February. Spot bills are shells introduced to get a bill number before
the specific proposal is fleshed out.
Campbell, whose district includes Newport Beach and Costa Mesa, is
facing an April 27 deadline for submittal. That is the final day a policy
committee may hear bills that could have a fiscal effect on state
Not everyone threw their support behind the move. Water district
watchdog Bob Caustin, who founded Defend the Bay, said he was concerned
the bill would give the agency too much power.
"Giving Irvine Ranch Water District the right to mess with that area
is totally inappropriate," Caustin said. "They're not supposed to be
involved in environmental issues. They're charged with delivering water
to their customers and treating the sewage that is returned to them."
Caustin's reasoning for questioning the district proposals goes back
to the mid-1990s. The activist sued the agency in 1996 to stop it from
discharging reclaimed water into the bay. After a two-year legal battle,
a judge overturned the agency's permit to dump the waste water. In