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County takes over management of troubled Sativa Water District

Serving Willowbrook and Compton

Merdies Hayes Editor In Chief | 11/8/2018, 12:51 p.m.

Sativa served about 6,800 people in a service area that spans about one-third of a square mile in South Los Angeles. Because of its inability to provide proper maintenance of its 70-year-old pipes, its customers have had to endure episodes of brown water running through their taps. Sativa has also faced allegations of mismanagement and nepotism.

Ridley-Thomas said DPW is well suited for the role of interim administrator as it has extensive experience operating water systems countywide, and currently serves 245,000 customers.

Identifying a new long-term water service provider could take 12 to 18 months. During that period, DPW would supervise the provision of water for Sativa’s customers. At the same time, it would review current system operations, maintenance and financial procedures with a focus on optimizing water quality and preparing for a new, long-term water provider.

When Sativa customers expressed alarm about brown water running through their taps last April, Ridley-Thomas filed an urgency motion to conduct an investigation, prevent serious risks to public health, and determine whether appropriate management and governance of the water district is in place to address Sativa’s neglect of its pipes and related infrastructure. Over the summer, he authored motions to champion AB 1577, and to confirm the County’s willingness to play the role of interim administrator.