Our Tapia water reclamation facility, slated to help with waste water treatment for Ahmanson Ranch, has recently received coverage in "Ahmanson Ranch Water Plan All Wet, Environmentalists Say" (Dec. 18). As a public utility, it is our mandate to serve approved development. Within this context, it is important for local residents to have an accurate picture of how Tapia does--and does not--impact Malibu Creek.
Foremost is the high quality of water from Tapia. "Gunk" (the term used in your article) is as far as possible from reality. Quite the opposite: Tapia's water is the cleanest in Malibu Creek. Recycled water from Tapia is so extensively treated it nearly meets drinking water standards and is sold to over 500 customers for irrigation.
Flows from Malibu Creek emptying into Surfrider Beach carry the impacts of hundreds of square miles of urban runoff, animals along the banks, swimmers and other recreators. Scientific studies and ongoing testing show Tapia's water actually dilutes pollution in the creek when it is discharged during the permitted five-month winter period.
For three years running we have successfully met regulations that prohibit discharge of highly treated recycled water from Tapia to the creek for seven months each year. Accomplishing this has taken extensive staff time, more than a half-million dollars each year and help from many customers. In short, Tapia has not "improperly discharged" to Malibu Creek.
James E. Colbaugh
General Manager, Las Virgenes
Municipal Water District