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Wastewater treatment would cost homeowners $1,000 a month, Malibu says

October 12, 2009 |  2:18 pm

With a proposed ban on septic systems in central Malibu looming, the city today said residential property owners would be on the hook for $1,000 a month to pay for a centralized wastewater treatment system. Commercial property owners could be forced to pay significantly more, the city said.

Malibu said such a system would cost $52 million. That is more than three times the $16.7-million projection that the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board has mentioned at recent community workshops.

Upset at what it calls Malibu's slow pace of correcting water pollution issues in Malibu Creek, Malibu Lagoon and Surfrider Beach, the water board has proposed a prohibition on septic systems in the city's core. The agency says pollutants leaching from aging and overtaxed septic systems are a big cause of the pollution. It plans to consider the issue Nov. 5.

The city has been moving forward with a treatment plan, but its consultants say the operation and maintenance would cost $420,000 a month. Assuming the water board's prohibition zone would include 400 to 500 land parcels, the costs would result in payments of about $1,000 per month per parcel, the city said.

"We are deeply concerned that the regional board has not completed its due diligence and has not considered the overwhelming monthly cost to local homeowners and landowners," said Malibu Mayor Andy Stern.

The city has asked the water board to put the the proposed ban on hold.

For a map of the proposed prohibition area, go to the water board's website.

-- Martha Groves