The Malibu Country Mart, Malibu Colony Plaza, Cross Creek Plaza and Serra Retreat Center were among more than three dozen businesses and public facilities cited Friday by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board for a variety of alleged violations related to water quality.
The board said notices of violation and orders to comply were sent after its staff began finding trouble spots while researching whether to prohibit septic tanks in the Civic Center area. In November, the board directed its staff to propose such a prohibition to protect water quality in that area, which contains many old septic systems that the board says leach sewage into Malibu Creek and Lagoon and the ocean.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday, April 30, 2009 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 National Desk 1 inches; 43 words Type of Material: Correction
Malibu notices: An article in Saturday's Section A about businesses cited by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board for a variety of alleged violations included City National Bank. The board now says the bank should not have been on the list.
Many Malibu residents fear that converting to sewers would invite unbridled development.
"The regional board is serious about protecting human health and the environment and bringing all facilities into compliance with clean water regulations," said Tracy Egoscue, the board's executive director.
Malibu has long been under orders from regional water quality officials to clean up its Civic Center area and coastline. Surfrider Beach, one of the city's leading attractions, is chronically polluted. The regional board has lost patience with what it calls the city's slow pace in moving toward a solution.
The city plans to turn 17 acres of open space on Pacific Coast Highway in the heart of the city into a park that would double as a storm water treatment zone. But many in the environmental and surfing communities contend that the design for Legacy Park falls short because it does not also provide for treating sewage.
The board sent 19 directives to businesses and other entities that it said were discharging wastewater without a permit. The directives ordered those cited to begin the process of securing permits and, within 90 days, to provide information on the design, construction and operation of their on-site water disposal systems.
The board said many of these were older businesses that had opened before there were the sorts of environmental reviews and city plan checks that would launch a permitting process. Among those that received directives were City National Bank and JP Morgan Chase Bank National Assn., Casa Malibu at the Beach, a KFC on Pacific Coast Highway, the Malibu Inn restaurant and nightclub, Our Lady of Malibu Catholic Church and Webster Elementary School.
In addition, the board sent notices of violation to 19 businesses and facilities in the Civic Center area. Alleged violations included failure to submit monitoring reports, incomplete monitoring reports, flow and effluent violations, and failure to report material changes in operations. The three Civic Center-area shopping centers received such notices, as did Surfrider Beach, Malibu Beach Inn (owned by DreamWorks co-founder David Geffen), HRL Laboratories (formerly Hughes Research Laboratories), a couple of county facilities and the office building, owned by Miramar Properties, that houses City Hall.
The board said Malibu Country Mart had missed the deadline for upgrading its wastewater treatment system. Michael Koss, an owner of the mart, could not be reached for comment.
City Manager Jim Thorsen said the city supported the board in its effort to push businesses to comply with monitoring rules. "Whatever the violations are, each of the businesses should address those with the regional board and come into compliance," he said.