EPA implements new water quality regulations for Malibu Watershed

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Malibu Creek and Lagoon in 2007

The Environmental Protection Agency established new regulations for the Malibu Watershed earlier this month.

The EPA listed Malibu Creek and Lagoon as impaired, and identified some sediments, nutrients, including phosphorous and nitrogen, as pollutants.

According to the EPA, the extra sediments and nutrients can have an adverse affect on microscopic organisms, which can negatively impact animals that feed on them, such as clams and shellfish, in the watershed.

“It’s part of the food web,” said Dennis Washburn, chairman of the Malibu Creek Watershed Council. “The system can collapse from the bottom up.”

The goal of the regulations is to control nutrients and sediments at Malibu Creek and Malibu Lagoon by establishing the “Total Maximum Daily Loads” (TMDLs) of pollutants the water body can receive.

“It’s a calculation of how much trash a particular water body can stand,” Washburn said.

It is currently unknown how this will change the way Malibu approaches water management projects, City Manager Jim Thorsen said.

City hall was still reviewing the new regulations, he said.

The EPA also finalized a plan for the Ventura River Estuary and Tributaries, which addresses TMDLs in Ventura and their impact on algae.

The regulations conclude a 14-year effort with the State of California to establish TMDLs for water bodies in the Los Angeles region.

To read the EPA’s full report, visit here