Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

Clean water in the 'Bu

Public comment continues here in the Metropolitan Water District's board room, where the LA Regional Water Quality Control Board is holding its meeting because of the overwhelming interest in the topic of a septic tank moratorium in areas affecting the Malibu Creek watershed, Malibu Lagoon and Surfrider Beach.

It's very polite - a byproduct of the impressive upscale serious locale? - but the divide is clear. Since I've been here we've heard from some longtime residents who say:
1 - septic is doing fine, and only may need updating in some places
2 - lots of other sources may be causing pollution & bacteria - relatedly -
3 - the science doesn't presently support tracing the problem to septic tanks
4 - updating to a treatment plant/sewage system would cost a lot and they shouldn't pay for it, especially now that we're in a financial apocalypse.

Surfers, mostly, are on the other side, with some beachgoers and enviros mixed in. They say:
1 - I've gotten pinkeye and, in at least one case, heart problems, from dirty water around Surfrider. The descriptions of the Coxsackie virus in particular were, uh, vivid.
2 - Surfrider's historically important to California culture, beyond that.
3 - Science already tells us that septic tanks cause bad stuff; we don't need to wait.
4 - Beneficial use means protecting the ecosystem in that region.
5 - Just because you haven't switched away from septic before a financially challenging time doesn't mean you shouldn't have to now; this is long overdue.

It'll be interesting to see how this goes.