Authorities voted Wednesday to disband a tiny water district in Compton that for years had been distributing discolored, putrid drinking water to its customers.
The Local Agency Formation Commission, which oversees public water districts, unanimously decided that Sativa L.A. County Water District should cease to exist due to mounting allegations of poor maintenance, financial malfeasance and lack of transparency. The county’s Department of Public Works, which had been appointed to manage Sativa on an interim basis after the state took it over last year, will assume full control of the district.
The decision paves the way for the county to shift ownership and operations of the locally controlled public water district, possibly to a private, investor-owned utility company.
Daniel Lafferty, an engineer at the county’s Department of Public Works, said at Wednesday’s meeting that allowing a private owner to absorb the 1,600 homes Sativa serves might be the best way to repair the district’s aging pipes and infrastructure without passing on millions of dollars in costs to its predominantly low-income customers, who currently pay a flat rate of about $65 a month.
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