Residents sue over city's pure water project

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KGTV) -- A group of University City residents is suing the city of San Diego over its plan to pump sewage under their neighborhood to be turned into tap water. 

The nonprofit University City Community Foundation filed the lawsuit after raising $30,000 from residents to challenge the environmental impact report for the city's Pure Water pipeline. 

The suit doesn't challenge the city's goal of making heavily treated reclaimed water one-third of its supply by 2035. The city says that will protect against future shortages and price increases. 

The lawsuit, however, says the city did not explore alternatives and did not adequately notify the public of the project's pipeline. It will pump sewage from the Morena Area, through Clairemont and University City, to a treatment plant at UTC. 

"There's no 100 percent guarantee that there could not be a leak, there could not be some discharge," said U.C. resident Barry Bernstein, who supports the lawsuit. "There could be some discharge. There may be some problems with the purification system."

Ruth DeSantis, who heads the foundation, said the city and foundation are now in settlement talks. 

A city spokesman declined to comment on the lawsuit, but said there are multiple protections in place - including a system designed to immediately cut off to avoid sewage geysers. He said the city still plans to break ground on the project by early next year. 

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