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Solution for Pollution: Kiddie Beach Fountain

A water display is proposed, but Ventura County leaders agree to await tests of the contamination.

September 17, 2003|Catherine Saillant | Times Staff Writer

Forget about a pump. A Hollywood Beach woman on Tuesday offered a more novel solution to dissipating unhealthful bacteria at Kiddie Beach near Oxnard.

Ventura County should look into whether a dancing fountain -- like the one at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas -- would do the job, said Jayne Ziv.

"It would be a solution to the bird problem and a beautification to the harbor," Ziv told supervisors. "I've seen them in other parts of the world lit up with lights."

County officials agreed to consider a fountain among several options for ridding the beach of high pollution levels. A consultant has recommended shortening a nearby rock groin or installing a pump to improve water circulation at the tiny beach in Channel Islands Harbor.

On Tuesday, supervisors agreed to figure out the source of pollution before making any decisions.

A DNA study already underway should help determine what is causing high bacteria levels. Theories abound, but a consultant hired by the county has identified some likely culprits: droppings from seagulls and feral cats and gutter water streaming into the harbor from a nearby storm drain.

David Cannon, chief engineer for Everest International Consultants, said beaches in other harbors around the same state face similar problems.

Ventura County received a $1.5 million state grant to address the problem. So far the county has spent $185,000, mostly on studies, said Christy Madden, who is overseeing the project.

An additional $795,000 has been set aside to pay for any construction, Madden said.

Three harbor-area residents voiced concern about how the grant money was being spent. They also criticized the county as moving too slowly to address pollution levels.

"Please, let's spend some money on possible solutions so children can have a summer free of contamination," said resident Ellen Spiegel.

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