The city of Malibu cut the ribbon Monday on its new million-dollar runoff treatment facility in unique fashion. Mayor Zuma Jay — Jefferson Wagner — paddled through the waves along with surfing icon Laird Hamilton to help launch the new plant, directly adjacent to Paradise Cove pier. More than 100 people joined the festivities to celebrate clean water at the beach often known as Parasite Cove because of its chronically poor water quality.
Like any ribbon cutting, city council members and representatives from the offices of state and local elected officials pressed the flesh. However, seeing the mayor paddle to the podium had to be a first for a municipal press conference in California, and maybe even nationally.
Joining the electeds at the podium were polar opposites in the world of beach culture: Frankie Avalon and Laird Hamilton — an actor-singer that built a career out of pretending to surf in “Beach Blanket Bingo” and “Beach Party” with the ultimate surfing legend that never met a wave too big to conquer. Everyone came to the beach to celebrate the end of “F” grades at Paradise Cove.
For over a decade, Paradise Cove has been one of the most polluted beaches along Santa Monica Bay, and sometimes along the entire California coast. Malibu completed construction of the treatment plant very quickly despite bond freezes and other funding issues. The facility has a runoff treatment capacity of nearly a million gallons per day (100 gallons per minute).
The treatment plant is similar to those at Marie Canyon and Malibu Lagoon, with upfront solids removal before ultraviolet disinfection at the tail end of the treatment train. The treated runoff gets discharged just above the high tide line near the Paradise Cove pier.
Funding for the project largely came from Proposition 40 Clean Beach Initiative funds managed by the State Water Board. To date, the state Sen. Fran Pavley-authored initiative has resulted in more than $100 million going to clean up California’s most polluted beaches.
The over-engineered facility should be large enough to treat polluted stormwater runoff from all but the biggest of local storms. The completion of the treatment plant on the heels of the long overdue, controversial construction of the mobile home park’s sewage treatment plant should finally lead to a clean and safe Paradise Cove.
The action follows nearly a decade of Regional Water Board enforcement over hundreds of violations and over a dozen raw sewage spills in the Paradise Cove area. The end result should be dry weather straight “A”s for years to come, and maybe even “A” grades during the rainy season too.