No risk to fish

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As stakeholders in the Malibu Creek Watershed providing service to more than 80,000 watershed residents, we wanted to clarify some of the comments in last week’s Malibu Times. Letters and comments from local residents pointed to the Tapia Water Reclamation Facility as being problematic to fish in the creek. Research and facts indicate quite the contrary. Water released from Tapia into the creek is highly treated, nearly meeting drinking water standards. Regular testing confirms this water is virtually free of harmful bacteria, with no evidence of any constituent at a level that would be harmful to fish.

Fish surveys of lower Malibu Creek and Lagoon in the last 20 years show thriving communities of both native and introduced fish species, with Tapia’s effluent as part of the mix. In fact, rainbow trout (the freshwater form of the steelhead) readily survive in pure effluent from Tapia and similar treatment facilities. Tapia currently does not discharge to Malibu Creek for seven months of the year. When it does – during the high-flow months of winter -Tapia’s water is the cleanest in the creek, and actually dilutes bacteria in the background flows.

As a watershed partner, we applaud Heal the Bay for these efforts in Malibu Creek. Let’s spend our energy and resources to identify and address the barriers and problems in our watershed, rather than pointing fingers and perpetuating inaccurate myths. Thank you for the opportunity to share this information. Readers who would like to see Tapia firsthand are welcome to join a tour by calling us at 818-251-2100.

John Mundy

General Manager

Las Virgenes Municipal

Water District