Septic systems under study again


The Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board has directed the City of Malibu to conduct a technical investigation to determine the impact of discharges from wastewater and septic tank systems.

In a letter to Mayor Joan House, the board’s executive officer stated the regional board is concerned that heavy reliance on the use of septic systems in densely populated portions of the city of Malibu threatens water quality and contamination in Malibu Lagoon and adjacent beaches is of particular concern since it results in a public health risk.

The technical investigation must address four specific questions:

1) What are the impacts from septic systems for which the city is responsible, including the septic system at 23555 Civic Center Way?

2) What are the cumulative impacts from the city’s septic systems, as well as from other septic systems?

3) How effective are the city’s current regulatory efforts in mitigating public health risks and other water quality impacts from the discharges from septic systems?

4) What additional measures are needed to remedy impacts that are not adequately addressed by existing regulatory efforts?

A draft work plan for the technical investigation is due July 10. It must include a detailed methodology and a schedule for determining impacts from septic systems and a summary of the city’s current regulatory efforts to ensure existing septic systems have been properly sited and are properly functioning. Also, by June 26, the board requires a list of all septic system dischargers in the Malibu Valley, including the Malibu Colony.

City staff and board staff have held some preliminary meetings to “try to come to some sort of an understanding of what it is they want to have happen,” said City Manager Harry Peacock. Peacock said the meetings are intended to determine “what they’re expecting and how we can work collectively.” Peacock said the board will be invited to attend a City Council meeting in order to discuss the matter, probably in July.