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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

State Parks Responds to Letter

BY SUZANNE GULDIMANN

The reply from State Parks to a letter from the City of Malibu intended to address the City Council's concerns about the Malibu Lagoon construction project that proposed to dredge, drain and reconstruct the lagoon, appears instead to be generating more controversy.
State Parks has rejected the city's request for joint authority with the Regional Water Quality Control Board to approve the construction’s water quality monitoring plan.
The letter also rejects the city's request for weekly monitoring in four locations, monitoring for mrsa bacteria, and the city’s request for indemnification for issues that may be related to dewatering and soil removal.
“We had previously carefully considered all the concerns raised by the City of Malibu to the California Coastal Commission in letters dated Aug. 6, 2010 and Oct. 7, 2010, and significantly increased the monitoring above and beyond what is required by our National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit, in part to address the city’s concerns, as well as to protect the health and safety of our park visitors and wildlife,” wrote State Parks Senior Environmental Scientist Suzanne Goode.
“These letters were also addressed by the Commission as part of its final permit conditions. We have designed an extremely robust monitoring plan to ensure that the dewatering and filtration/disinfection system is fully operational and meets all water quality standards. We believe that the following additional measures we have voluntarily provided address any concerns the City may have. We appreciate your continued support for this project and look forward to working with you throughout the project implementation and monitoring periods.”
The city letter requested that State Parks conduct weekly monitoring of the lagoon and ocean wavewash.
State Parks reply indicates that the project will rely on testing that is conducted on a routine basis by the City of Los Angeles.
“During construction, water quality testing shall be performed at least twice per week in accordance with the City and RWQCB approved plan,” the letter states. “The draft NPDES permit initially required only monthly monitoring of all constituents. We requested specific additional monitoring requirements far in excess of monthly and were able to get weekly monitoring for fecal coliform and copper incorporated into the permit. This is the maximum monitoring frequency that the Regional Board would consider or allow in the NPDES permit.
“We have included significant additional monitoring into our implementation contract, which will include a minimum of two samples per day for a minimum of three days per week for total coliform, E.coli, and Enterococcus bacteria. Samples will be collected before treatment and immediately following treatment at the locations specified in the NPDES permit.
Following the first month, the sampling will be done twice weekly at the same locations for the same constituents. We will also conduct additional metal sampling throughout the project period beyond that required by the permit.
“The Malibu Lagoon Restoration and Enhancement Project contains no elements that would cause or contribute to human fecal bacteria. Therefore human specific bacteriodales is not a constituent that the NPDES permit for the project requires we monitor for. While State Parks cannot pay for this monitoring since it is not a component of this project, we would be happy to collect samples and work with you to identify non-project funding to include this constituent in the project’s monitoring plan,” Goode wrote.
On the issue of indemnification, Goode wrote: “Parks will agree to indemnify the city should the city incur liability for any impairment to water quality that comes from the outlet pipe of the filtration system that we are operating as part of this project.”
The letter does not address the issue of indemnification related to geological issues, erosion, or the possibility that the dewatering and filtration plan may be inadequate to effectively deal with the volume of water and the potential for wide-scale bacterial contamination from disturbed sediments that could end up in the surfzone at Surfrider Beach, according to project critics.
The full text of the letter is available at: www.malibucity.org

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