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Hundreds pack hearing on Malibu septic tanks

Hundreds jammed the Los Angeles Metropolitan Water District headquarters today as board members prepared to decide whether to ban septic tanks in much of Malibu.

The decision is both meaningful and potentially expensive.

Residents in the affected areas would be required to pay about $500 a month to cover the cost of hooking into a central sewage system, according to the city’s projections. Businesses would face payments of about $20,000 a month for enterprises producing 25,000 gallons of wastewater per day or about $7,000 for those producing 10,000 gallons per day.

Proponents insist that the septic systems are Third World-like devices and a major source of pollution in Malibu’s watershed.

Nancy Hastings, a field coordinator for the Surfrider Foundation, which supports the moratorium, said the public "has a right to have clean, safe water to recreate in."

"This pollution problem is more than two decades long," said Hastings, adding that she surfs every Sunday at famed Surfrider Beach, often exposing herself to toxins.

The most graphic testimony came from surfer Ken Seino, a member of the Malibu Surfing Assn., who flashed a scar on his upper-left chest where he had a pacemaker implanted. That was necessary, he said, because of the viral myocarditis he contracted after inadvertently paddling through raw sewage at Surfrider Beach in August 1997.

"I smelled it, I tasted it and it was ugly," he said. "I regurgitated before I could paddle to the sand."

The next day, he said, he awoke with a temperature of 103 degrees and was ill for three weeks. Later, after developing inflammation of his heart muscle, he had the pacemaker put in. Four of his surfing friends have had the same operation, he said.

Even with the pacemaker, he said, "I will die before my time because of this infection."

The testimony is expected to last until early evening before the water board votes on whether to ban septic tanks and force those who already use them to phase out the devices.

—Martha Groves

Comments () | Archives (11)

just when the story gets going, it ends.

is this a newspaper or a palm pilot?

Eeeewww, too much details.

Don't surf in Malibu.

Make Malibu's Hollywood BILLIONAIRES PAY? Are you joking? Let them eat.....well, you KNOW!

Time for this "progressive" enclave of the privileged to pay-up and stop poisoning the rest of us. This should be a no brainer.

People are cheap, want to spend only on self-indulgent items, not infrastructure and they will yell at the board members until they cave. No one wants to pay what it costs to live in an area and not have a negative imprint. they can afford it, but would rather have $500 a month in their pocket and continued deficating into the land and sea. Same is true for water pipe breakages in L.A.. Users will yell and scream for low rates, putting the replacement off to the next generation of users. "Greatest generation"?, no just the cheapest and most entitled thinking.

Look at the numbers. Overall it is cheaper by more than 1/2 for home owners to accept the $50 million dollar plan than the contorted City plan.

If you look at the City data the minimum daily gallons per day is 10,000. The City plan for 25 commercial buildings exceeds the proposed system capacity.

The City also cry babies about land costs. Rember not to many years ago the County was deep into design of an extensive system that used Hyperion. About the same time Pepperdine was pumping sewage to Tapia.

Bill Carson

They're just full of it.

Sorry Bruno; the Calif electorate is the 'NO BRAINER.' Just wait till cops/firemen/bureaucrats start retiring with $200,000 a year retirement packages, because LA couldn't AFFORD the overtime, and it accrues to RETIREMENT, just like our Department Heads.....look at ex-chief Parks.

$500 a month for how long? Depending on the collection system they could be seeing yearly spills into the ocean and rivers. Gravity collection systems are notorious for failing especially in flood prone areas such as Malibu and the Malibu Hills. I'm wondering why someone would purposely expose themselves to sewer? After all if you can smell it wouldn't you stay out of the water instead of submerging yourself in it? The price people pay to be right.

hmmmm - just a clarification on the county retirement post. I was recently at a county retirement presentation, and overtime does not count towards the calculation of the amount that a retiree receives. Bonus spots, vacation buy-outs, etc. is payroll that is not base pay that goes into the calculation of retirement amount - not Over-time.

I live in an area that used to be entirely cesspit and septic tanks (I am no where near a beach) we petitioned for years to have a sewer line ran through our area (it caused a deep divide in our community - some did not want the extra cost attached to our property tax) finally the sewer line was put in and some people still don't have thier homes attached to the sewer line and have a septic tank or cesspit. They are the nastiest thing EVER - when there is an overflow it is DISGUSTING...why snyone with so much money woule ever want to have a third-world sewage solution to their multi-million dollar home I will never know.


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