City celebrates storm water treatment facility

The facility will treat and clean storm water runoff from three drains that is discharged into Malibu Creek.

By Jonathan Friedman / Assistant Editor

State, county and city officials, as well as various environmental activists, gathered at the Civic Center area on Friday to celebrate the opening of a storm water treatment facility. This is the city’s first completed project in its attempt to curb pollution of its watershed.

The new storm water treatment system is enclosed in a 10-foot-high, 560-square-foot building located at the northwest corner of Civic Center Way and Cross Creek Road. It will treat storm water and dry weather flows from storm drains that already exist at Civic Center Way, Cross Creek Road and Malibu Road. The water will then be discharged into Malibu Creek.

The project is mostly funded by state agencies, with the State Water Resources Control Board contributing $4 million, the State Coastal Conservancy giving $1 million and the Integrated Waste Management Board chipping in $500,000. The city put up $300,000.

The storm water facility is a must-have for Malibu because of new rules coming down from the Regional Water Quality Board about the amount of nutrients that are allowed to enter the watershed, with severe fines eventually being the consequence if the rules aren’t followed. The Malibu watershed has been polluted for years by various foreign elements.

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“With the opening of the storm water treatment facility, we’re keeping our promise to reduce pollutants entering Malibu Lagoon and Surfrider Beach, for the sake of residents and visitors alike,” Mayor Ken Kearsley said in a press release issued shortly before the ceremony.

Kearsley attended the program with his fellow council members. Others attending the ceremony included Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, Assemblymember Julia Brownley and state Sen. Sheila Kuehl. Representatives from the environmental groups Heal the Bay and the Surfrider Foundation were also present. The various leaders praised the project that, according to the city, will treat up to 1,400 gallons per minute of storm water runoff.

The treatment of the storm water begins with water being collected from the three drains and through a screen that takes out large trash and debris. It then goes into a media filter, which takes out oils, greases and other fine sediments. The water is finally disinfected using ozone.

For now, the water will reach its final resting place at Malibu Creek. Deputy City Engineer Claudio Sanchez said this will change once the city develops the Chili Cook-Off site, the recently purchased local government property that has been proposed to be part of a sophisticated storm water/wastewater treatment program. Sanchez said the storm water facility will be a component of that program, and the water will be further treated at the park, with some of it being used for irrigation.

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The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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