Posted on May 10, 2011 by spoutingoff
Some of the new regulations designed to clean up San Pedro Bay are more fork than spoon unfortunately.
Santa Monica Bay pollution may make the headlines, but the pollution in San Pedro Bay is a lot worse. Last week the Regional Water Quality Control Board made an attempt to heal our other local bay by passing the most comprehensive and complicated Total Maximum Daily Load in California history. (TMDLs are water body-specific pollutant limits.) The TMDL covered 79 different impairments of Dominguez Channel and the Greater Los Angeles and Long Beach Harbor (San Pedro Bay) waters and contaminants, including heavy metals like mercury, lead and copper, DDT, PCBs, toxicity and petroleum hydrocarbons.
The bottom line is that there are now five species of fish in the Bay that the state recommends you avoid eating and another 11 that you shouldn’t eat more than once a week. Also, there are numerous toxic hotpots and the benthic ecology (bottom-dwelling animals) at some of those locations is highly degraded.
Although this TMDL was one of the most important in the entire Consent Decree between the environmental community and the EPA, it was delayed until 2011 because of its complexity and the number of industrial heavy hitters that are regulated by the action, including such players as the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, numerous oil companies, the Montrose Chemical Co. (the folks who brought us DDT), and numerous upstream cities with intense industrial use. Perhaps the biggest reason for the lateness of the TMDL was the complex and time-consuming modeling (five years in the making) of San Pedro Bay and the Dominguez Channel required to develop the regulation.
The Regional Board voted 5-0 to approve the staff recommended TMDL over strong opposition from Montrose and the Coalition for Practical Regulation cities. Montrose and the CPR cities opposed the TMDL because of cost concerns, and they actually claimed that they shouldn’t have to pay for the Dominguez Channel and San Pedro Bay cleanup because they already had to pay millions of dollars under the Superfund and Natural Resources damages lawsuit in the 1990s. In other words, “Let the locals eat toxic fish!”
Filed under: Environmental Governance, Heal the Bay, Port of Los Angeles, Public Health, Water Quality | Tagged: L.A. Regional Water Quality Control Board, San Pedro Bay, TMDL | 2 Comments »
Posted on November 5, 2010 by spoutingoff
New trash limits for S.M. Bay may make this depressing scene a thing of the past.
The Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board voted 4-1 Thursday to approve tough, new marine debris limits for Santa Monica Bay. The limits, based on 11 similar trash Total Maximum Daily Loads in the Los Angeles region, give Santa Monica Bay watershed cities, Los Angeles County and land management agencies like State Parks, eight years to reduce the amount of trash going into the Bay to zero. Compliance can be met by installing full capture mechanisms like trash screens and inserts or other state-approved devices. All devices must be adequately designed, operated and maintained to meet state requirements. Full adherence is mandated within eight years.
The action marks the last trash abatement measure required under the 1999 TMDL Consent Decree among Heal the Bay, the Santa Monica Baykeeper, the NRDC and the federal EPA. The vote truly marks a major water quality milestone. Congratulations to the Regional Water Board members for their groundbreaking leadership on trash abatement regulations.
Filed under: Environmental Governance, Heal the Bay, Marine Debris | Tagged: Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board, Marine Debris, Santa Monica Bay, TMDL, trash limits | 2 Comments »
Posted on August 11, 2009 by spoutingoff
Will stimulus funds end lawsuits over cleaning L.A. River?
Great news from last week. The Obama administration awarded $10 million in stimulus funds to prevent trash from getting in to the Los Angeles River and San Pedro Bay. The shocking pictures of Long Beach after a rain often show a few feet of trash piled along the shore. The L.A. River is so polluted that it ranks on California’s list of impaired waters. The Regional Water Board even approved river specific water quality standards that require zero trash getting in the river by 2014. The so-called Total Maximum Daily Load limit is one of the most far reaching environmental regulations in the country.
With the $10 million, the Los Angeles Gateway Region Integrated Regional Water Management Authority (I don’t make up these names) will design and install trash-capture devices to comply with these regulations in the cities of Bell, Bell Gardens, Commerce, Compton, Cudahy, Downey, Huntington Park, Long Beach, Lynwood, Maywood, Montebello, Paramount, Pico Rivera, Signal Hill, South Gate and Vernon.
As required under the trash regulation, the full capture devices are designed to prevent 100% of the trash greater than five millimeters in diameter from reaching the L.A.River after a three-quarter inch storm. The L.A. Gateway Authority claimed that the stimulus funds will prevent garbage from trashing the river and the bay, and the funds will create over 100 jobs over the next two years. All great stuff. Congratulations.
So why don’t I feel all warm and happy inside?
Filed under: Marine Debris, Urban Runoff, Water Quality | Tagged: EPA, L.A. River, Marine Debris, stimulus funds, TMDL, Trash | Leave a Comment »
Posted on August 29, 2008 by spoutingoff
Yesterday, Orange County District Court Judge Thierry Colaw issued a ruling on the Arcadia II case that restored water quality protection for the Los Angeles region. The environmental community (NRDC, SM Baykeeper and Heal the Bay) disagrees with the conclusion that the Los Angeles Regional Water Board’s water quality planning is flawed, and we are evaluating our appellate options. But the critical bottom line is this: Clean water standards are in place and enforceable once again to protect the public health of millions of beachgoers and to safeguard aquatic life in the Southland.
Filed under: Environmental Leaders, Legislation, Public Health, Water Quality | Tagged: Judge Thierry Colaw, NRDC, TMDL | Leave a Comment »
Posted on July 17, 2008 by spoutingoff
Signal Hill is leading the charge to weaken water regulations.
A major court decision was handed down by an Orange County state Superior Court Judge on July 2 that could have a range of impacts on efforts to address water pollution in LA County. (More in the L.A. Times and Daily Breeze.)
Filed under: Public Health, Water Quality | Tagged: Clean Water Act, Public Health, TMDL, Water Quality | 1 Comment »