State Water staff recommends Malibu septic ban

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The battle over septic systems in Malibu will go to the state level Sept. 21 in Sacramento. The State Water Resources Control Board will consider last year’s proposal by the regional board for a ban on septic systems in and around Malibu’s Civic Center. State water staff has recommended the board approve the ban.

City officials and numerous residents are opposed to the proposal, and Malibu officials have spent a great deal of resources lobbying state officials to reject the ban. The city issued a press release on Tuesday saying Malibu leaders on Sept. 21 will be in Sacramento to ask state board members “to return the technically unfeasible and politically unachievable septic ban resolution” to the regional board for modification.

Prohibition proponents say it is needed to clean Malibu’s watershed. The opposition says there are better methods to achieve this goal.

The plan, which was unanimously recommended for approval by the regional board last November, calls for an end to future permitting of septic systems in the comm ercial areas of the Civic Center and the stretch of Pacific Coast Highway from Serra Road to Sweetwater Canyon, as well as the residential areas of Malibu Colony, Malibu Road, Serra Retreat, Sweetwater Mesa and the Malibu Knolls.

If the ban is approved, current septic systems in commercial areas must be phased out by 2015, and those in residential areas by 2019. Projects that are already underway or in the permitting process will be allowed to install septic systems, but must also meet those deadlines.

The staff report for the meeting is expected to be released on Thursday. Look for more information at www.malibutimes.com this week and in next week’s print edition of the newspaper.