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Malibu votes to fund more water quality studies

September 16, 2009 |  6:00 am

The Malibu City Council has voted to fund an expansion of the U.S. Geological Survey's studies of recurring water quality issues in the Malibu Lagoon and at Surfrider Beach. The city also will pay for the agency and other scientists to present their findings to the public.

Earlier this year, City Manager Jim Thorsen said in a statement, the USGS conducted a water quality study at the two sites, but ocean conditions prevented researchers from gathering some of the needed material.

The council on Monday approved $49,200 to help the USGS generate additional data and to allow scientists to present the findings at a conference in Long Beach in October and to the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board on Nov. 5.

The council also voted to provide an additional $70,800, if needed, for other scientific research and presentations at that Nov. 5 meeting, where the water board is scheduled to consider its proposed prohibition on septic systems in Malibu's Civic Center area.

Thorsen said the city has asked the water board to place the proposed prohibition "on hold until it has all the information from these studies to be certain it achieves the goals we all share: protecting the public's health and improving water quality."

Regional water quality officials and environmental groups, including Heal the Bay, have criticized Malibu for taking what they say is an inordinately long time to address pollution issues.

-- Martha Groves