The Malibu City Council took an active step in distancing itself from the water quality at the Malibu Lagoon this week by approving an indemnification agreement with California State Parks.
The agreement was ratified Monday, the same day a treatment plant began releasing water pumped from the Malibu Lagoon into Surfrider Beach.
Sean Kehoe, an opponent of the Malibu Lagoon Restoration and Enhancement Project, brought in three large cups of water from the discharge pipe, which he dubbed “lagoon-ade,” with the names of State Parks officials on the outside.
“I brought a little lagoon-ade,” Kehoe said. “It looks clear, but looks can be deceiving. Post the test results. Assure us surfers and those of us in the water because we are drinking this.”
Kehoe said he wants to make sure the results are “making standard,” and he wants to see signs posted to warn surfers and swimmers the treated lagoon water is being released.
The agreement reaffirms that the City of Malibu cannot be held liable for any negative impacts on public health or other issues from project.
Malibu City Attorney Christi Hogin said the agreement was initiated by the city and negotiated with State Parks.
“The state would always be liable for any impact it has had on water quality around Malibu,” Hogin said.
State Parks has affirmed that it is conducting tests on the water quality in compliance with permits issued by the California Coastal Commission.
The city of Malibu and opponents of the project have asked State Parks to post the water testing results daily on its website.
Craig Sap, district superintendent for the State Parks Los Angeles District, said he plans to release the results for July 16-18 once he receives them, which could be as early as Thursday.
Earlier this year the Malibu City Council voted to oppose the project because of concerns about public safety and other issues.
The City of Malibu is still smarting from the last water-quality lawsuit it settled, which was completely unrelated to the Malibu Lagoon project.
The city earlier this year with the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Santa Monica Baykeeper over allegations the city had violated the Clean Water Act.
Under the settlement, the city agreed to pay $750,000 in legal fees, make improvements on 17 drains, and allocate $250,000 toward the city's Ocean Health Water Assessment program.