Human Waste Project

Local official disputes report saying he knew people poop polluted Aliso Creek

Montgomery has informed the regional board's staff that they misinterpreted his July 1999 statements. He'll get a chance to state his case at the board's Wednesday meeting, where the city and county have requested a public hearing to contest the board's determination that discharges of human waste contributed to Aliso Creek pollution.

Melbourn said he stands by his report until he's shown evidence that proves otherwise. "I know what I remember," he said.

He added that before the board issued its cleanup order, the dischargers had already begun taking care of the problem. The state went ahead and took action to get the matter on the record and give the locals a deadline to act.

Melbourn sympathized with local officials' sentiments that they are being made out to be bad guys at a time they are addressing the water-quality problems —a point Montgomery underscored.

"It's hard to believe they would take a position on something they thought they heard last July," the public-works director said, "instead of just calling me first."

All of this will be moot if Aliso Creek is cleaned up and the pollution stops, Melbourn noted.

"I don't see this as shocking and controversial as they do," he said. "Let the data speak for itself."

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