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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

City Appears Poised to Sign Off on Septics MOU with the Water Boards

• Documents Are Said Not to Be Ready for Public Review

BY BILL KOENEKER

The Malibu City Council is scheduled to consider at its meeting next week a memorandum of understanding between the municipality and the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board and the State Water Resources Control Board regarding implementation of the Malibu Civic Center area septic prohibition.
The MOU and the staff report are being prepared by City Manager Jim Thorsen and by Tuesday afternoon the documents were not yet ready for public review.
The city manager’s executive assistant, Mary Linden, said Thorsen was out on vacation this week, but he was still putting the finishing touches on the document, along with Sam Unger who is the top administrator for the RWQCB. “I don’t know when it will be ready,” Linden added.
Last week, Thorsen had indicated the city and the local water board were close to some kind of agreement on the MOU, but remained tight-lipped about the details.
Last March, Thorsen had announced that progress was being made between the city and the water boards about an agreement that called for the city to build a wastewater facility in the Civic Center area.
There are two details that have emerged from correspondence between Thorsen and Joan Lavine, a Malibu Road resident and attorney, who has filed a lawsuit against the local and state water boards over the legality of the ban on on-site systems.
Lavine sent Thorsen an email asking if the MOU included a lifting of the septic ban imposed on the Civic Center that is now in the L.A. Basin Plan.
The city manager responded by email “No, not at this time.”
Lavine also asked whether Unger had offered to stipulate to repeal the Basin Plan amendment banning septic systems in the Civic Center area. Again, Thorsen answered, “No. not at this time.”

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