The city of Malibu scored an absolute knockout Thursday in Round 3 of the battle for improved water quality at Surfrider, Malibu Lagoon, and nearby beaches. Watching Malibu City Attorney Christi Hogin close the done deal for weakened septic system regulations with the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board was like watching boxing champ Manny Pacquiao take on Woody Allen. No contest. Hogin should be in line for a big raise for negotiating a deal for Malibu that will save ratepayer’s millions at the probable expense of water quality at beaches visited by millions of visitors each year. And she did this when Malibu’s only leverage was its stated threat of litigation against the Regional Water Board for enforcing previously approved prohibitions. The board had already unanimously voted for regulations against new septic tanks and phase out of existing ones in the civic center area in favor of a centralized waste water treatement and recycling facility.
The reward for Malibu’s threat to sue was a unanimous 6-0 Regional Board vote to approve a MOU that severely undercuts the previously Board approved Basin Plan amendment to prohibit land discharges of sewage in the Malibu civic center.
Despite a nearly five-hour hearing, and extensive testimony from Santa Monica Baykeeper, Surfrider Foundation, Malibu Surfing Assn., Heal the Bay and many others, the board only made trivial changes to the MOU.