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July 13th Regional Water Board hearing


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Posted by msblucow on July 11, 2006 at 08:43:52:

Linda Shanklin, Chair, VOC Environment & Wildlife Committee, has asked that the following public hearing notice be sent out. Please excuse the late notification.

Marta -

Attend the July 13th Regional Water Board hearing and voice your support for strong bacteria pollution limits at Santa Monica Bay’s beaches!

The Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) is conducting a hearing on July 13th to consider incorporating bacteria pollution limits (called a Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL) into the L.A. County Storm Water permit. Unfortunately, many local governments, industry and other dischargers are in strong opposition. Please attend the hearing to voice your support for the bacteria pollution limits to protect public health and to hold polluters accountable for cleaning our beaches!

The hearing will take place on Thursday, July 13, 2006, at the City of Simi Valley Council Chambers, 2929 Tapo Canyon Road. The TMDL issue is scheduled on the hearing agenda for approximately 10:00am.

Background

Bacteria Pollution Limit Established Protections for Health
In 2003, Heal the Bay and others fought for—and won—strong bacteria pollution limits for water at our local beaches. Called the Santa Monica Bay Beaches Dry-Weather Bacteria Total Maximum Daily Load (“Bacteria TMDL”), the limits were designed to protect beachgoers health by reducing harmful bacteria in our local beach water. Note: this particular pollution limit is for bacteria during dry-weather only; there is another, separate pollution limit for bacteria levels during rainy (wet) weather.

Cities and other dischargers were given three years—until July 15, 2006—to meet the limits and be in compliance with the Bacteria TMDL. In other words, in just a few weeks, all of Santa Monica Bay beaches are required to be safe for beachgoers in the dry season.

However, even with the Bacteria TMDL’s July 15th compliance deadline just around the corner, many of Santa Monica Bay’s beaches still haveelevated bacteria levels that make people sick! In order to be enforceable, the bacteria pollution limits need to be incorporated into the L.A. County Storm Water permit. The RWQCB’s hearing will consider this action.

Why the Bacteria TMDL Needs to Be in the Storm Water Permit
Under federal law, storm water permits are the primary mechanism for enforcement of pollution limits for waters draining to the ocean, rivers and lakes. With the bacterial pollution limit compliance deadline fast approaching, it is imperative that bacteria limits are enforceable by making them part of the L.A. Storm Water permit. In fact, state and federal law requires the Bacteria TMDL be incorporated into a storm water permit.

Moreover, integration of the Bacteria TMDL into the permit at this time makes sense because California’s state health laws make high levels of bacteria at public beaches unlawful. Incorporation of the bacteria pollution limits at the height of the beach season—during which millions of people will visit Santa Monica Bay—would be a strong statement that the Regional Board is living up to its fundamental obligation to protect water quality and its citizens. Thus, appropriately, RWQCB staff has proposed incorporation of the bacteria pollution limit in the permit.

Unfortunately, many local governments, industry and other dischargers are strongly in opposition, so we need your help to support the regional board staff recommendation. These same dischargers have sued in court to stop similar trash pollution limits, and have lost, but they are trying the same delay tactics with bacteria! Come to the hearing to help keep our beaches safe.




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