A California State Parks official made good on a promise to opponents of the Malibu Lagoon Restoration and Enhancement Project Friday by drinking a glass of treated lagoon water.
Sap, who drank two half-glasses directly from the discharge pipe, said he told Malibu resident Andy Lyon, who opposes the project, that he would drink the water from the treatment plant to show his confidence in its cleanliness.
“In the conversation, I said I would drink the water. He’s been mentioning that. I’m fulfilling my promise that I would drink the water,” Sap said.
Lyon, who was not present when Sap drank the water, said he believes the greater threat to public safety will be later on in the process.
“Great. He drank the water. It will probably get worse as they get down into it,” Lyon said, referring to the muck at the bottom of the lagoon.
Mark Abramson, a senior watershed advisor for the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Foundation, also took a swig, to show support for his boss.
“He’s depending on my confidence that he’s not going to die from drinking that water,” Abramson said with a chuckle.
Sap said he wants to show the public that he has confidence in the quality of the water being pumped from the lagoon, into a treatment plant and out to Surfrider Beach, where the “Call to the Wall” surfing contest is set for this weekend.
“We’re going above and beyond. Right now the water levels, the testing, shows that they are 600 percent above what’s required of us. To that end, I want to show that we have confidence in the safety of the water,” Sap said.
Opponents have been putting increasing pressure on State Parks officials to make good on Sap’s promise. At Monday night council meeting, Sean Kehoe brought three large plastic cups of the treated water and asked for Sap and others to drink up the "lagoon-ade."
"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 and others have requested that the dewatering of the lagoon be put on hold until after the surfing event, which benefits children with severe illnesses.
Sap said he is still awaiting an answer from the contractor in charge of the dewatering, Pure Effects. Originally he thought the contractor could put the dewatering on hold for a few days, and now he hopes to be able to stop it for a few hours during the competition.
The test results from the treatment plant for July 16-17 were recently released to the City of Malibu, which were .
Up to 30 minutes after ingesting the water, Sap said he felt OK.
‘I’m no worse for wear. I feel fine,” Sap said.