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A property owner who violates the Prohibition and continues to discharge wastewater to an OWTS could be subject to individual orders from the RWQCB. These orders could range from a mandate to convert septic tanks to sewage holding tanks (with associated truck hauling of the stored flow) to fines of up to $10,000 per day for large volume, high impacting discharges.
The RWQCB and SWRCB provided a compliance mechanism via a 2011 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that the City is currently following. If property owners had rejected this approved option (such as through a negative vote on assessment district formation), the consequences would have been imposed by the RWQCB on the individual property owners within the Prohibition Zone, not the City of Malibu.
More details about the Basin Plan Amendment and the State’s proceedings to establish the prohibition can be found on the City’s website at: www.malibucity.org/index.aspx?NID=263 and on the SWRCB website at: http://www.swrcb.ca.gov/rwqcb4/water_issues/programs/basin_plan/index.shtml
Property owners may direct their concerns about the credible scientific basis used in the findings for the Prohibition to the Regional Water Quality Control Board and the State Water Resources Control Board. The Prohibition is a state law, not a local law.
The City studies disagree with some of the Regional Board’s findings and partially agree with others. It was through the City’s effort that a phasing plan was incorporated into the MOU that will evaluate the results of additional water quality monitoring before initiating Phase 3.
• The site has sufficient land area to locate treatment facilities for all Phases of the Prohibitionorder. The treatment plant ‘footprint’ for all three phases is approximately 2.5 acres.• The site overlays the Winter Canyon groundwater basin, which is distinct from the Malibu Valley Groundwater Basin underlying the rest of the Civic Center. This adds needed disposal capacity for the project by allowing some of the fully treated water to be disposed of on the treatment plant site itself, rather than just through recycled water use and deep well injection in the Malibu Valley Groundwater Basin.• The proposed use is similar to what is existing on the site, but will be state of the art technology, odor-scrubbed, and visually screened.• The site is located outside the 100-year flood zone, avoiding the cost of flood-proofing the treatment facilities.• The site has a willing seller.
Other sites were considered including the Wave property, the La Paz Development site, and Legacy Park. However, these sites did not provide the combination of advantages listed above.
The new facility will replace four aging wastewater systems (the Webster Elementary OWTS, Our Lady of Malibu OWTS, Malibu Colony Shopping Center treatment plant, and County-operated plant at Vista Pacifica St) that serve the two schools and the multifamily residences across from the site. Faculty, students, and residents have complained of odors and daylighting of sewage from failing systems for years. The RWQCB notified the schools that they must meet new water quality standards because of either failing or inadequate treatment in the aging onsite systems.
The new facility will have state of the art wastewater treatment equipment that will be fully covered, or enclosed within buildings. All treatment facilities will include full odor control. None of the four existing treatment systems in the vicinity have these features. The treatment facility will have an increased factor of safety because standby equipment and standby power will be built into the treatment systems to allow uninterrupted treatment in the event of equipment or power failure. This degree of safety is not provided by the existing treatment facilities in the area.
The treatment facility will be further away from the school and local residences than the County treatment plant, which is not odor scrubbed, is not fully enclosed or covered, and provides little visual screening of its process tanks.
The closest example of a treatment plant being sited in this type of location is the County treatment plant, which treats flow from the nearby condominiums. As stated previously, this plant is closer to the condominiums than the proposed new treatment plant. Los Angeles’ Hyperion wastewater treatment plant, which treats 800 times the projected flow of the Malibu plant, is within 400 feet of residential structures.
While the treatment plant property will be visible from properties across the street, views over the plant site will greatly improve. The unkempt current appearance of the site will be replaced with new onsite buildings that will be architecturally treated with a neutral rural style that is compatible with the site and surrounding area. Equipment has been sited underground whenever possible, and the existing four large white vertical tanks will be removed.
Extensive landscape screening will be used to hide above-ground equipment and the new treatment buildings from views across the street, and will be properly maintained for a neat appearance. The City acknowledges that it will take some time for newly planted foliage to substantially screen the project, but is committed to making the design as compatible as possible with the surrounding area.
- Malibu Colony Plaza – 55 total violations- Malibu Water Pollution Control Plant – 644 violations
It should be noted that the totals include a variety of violation types, such as late or missing submittals, reported parameters, discharge violations, etc.
Furthermore, the potential loss of two public parking spaces, if needed, would be more than offset by the addition of more than 100 parking spaces when nearby Legacy Park was constructed.
Maximizing reuse of recycled water is one of the project objectives. Although availability of 10 million gallons of storage would allow for maximum reuse of the recycled water produced by the treatment facility, maximized reuse is not feasible and not needed to make the project ‘work.’ Extensive field testing and modeling of the groundwater basin indicate that there is sufficient injection capacity to dispose of the total volume of effluent from all phases of the project, assuming zero recycled water use.
The siting difficulties and expense of providing 10 million gallons of storage would jeopardize the feasibility of the project, and is not an essential part of the project. Therefore, it is not a recommended project component.
When the project moves into Phase 2 (or when it moves into Phase 3), additional recycled water storage may be considered, but would only be implemented if acceptable sites are found in proximity to areas that would use the recycled water. This may require additional environmental (i.e., CEQA) documentation, depending on the site sizes, locations, etc.
Phase 1 was designed, and is being implemented, so that the infrastructure necessary to operate Phase 1 is fully constructed. The Phase 1 owners will shoulder the costs of the entire plant for several years until a future phase is constructed.
Property owners in Phase 2 and Phase 3 will be assessed for costs related only to collection, treatment, and management of wastewater that their individual parcel(s) produce(s).
Phase 1 includes some treatment equipment and processing tanks that will eventually benefit Phases 2 and 3. If, and when, subsequent phases are implemented, a reimbursement formula will be calculated by a qualified assessment engineer to allow a cost sharing that results in all property owners, from all phases, paying for only their prorated share of total facilities.
However, the opportunity to reduce dependence on dwindling imported potable water supplies affords Malibu a resource that will be maximized to the extent feasible. If Serra Canyon does not want recycled water, expanded use opportunities west of the Civic Center would be accelerated.
• Along the length of Civic Center Way, between Cross Creek Rd and Malibu Canyon Rd• Along public portions of Cross Creek Rd, between Pacific Coast Hwy and approximately 3661 Cross Creek Rd. In Phase 1, no pipelines will extend beyond the private gates of Serra Canyon.• Along Malibu Rd, west from Webb Way to the end of the Malibu Creek Plaza (Ralphs shopping center) property• Along Stuart Ranch Rd, from City Hall south to where it becomes Webb Way, where it continues to the point where Webb Way reaches Malibu Rd• Along Malibu Canyon Rd, extending from Bluffs Park north to Civic Center Way• Along Winter Canyon Rd to Our Lady of Malibu Church and School
The City has not been provided a copy of the Serra property owners’ commissioned study report and cannot comment on whether the study was conducted using standards that will be accepted by the Regional Board with respect to quality assurance protocol used for studies of this type.
It should be noted that FEMA’s maps do not show the re-contouring of elevations at Legacy Park, and, therefore, show much of the park within the 100-year flood zone. However, many areas of the park are currently above the 100-year flood elevations, and the pump station facilities are located in these areas.
The project includes backup power generators for the pump stations and treatment plant to allow continued operation in the event that an earthquake disrupts electric power supply to the facilities.
With regard to spills and flow backups at the plant site, onsite spills drain to a system that conveys flow back into the plant for treatment.