Cities facing fines for polluting the Bay

SANTA MONICA Late Tuesday morning officials in Santa Monica and 19 other cities throughout Southern California received violation notices.

Cities are being asked to prove that they are making an effort to clean up Santa Monica Bay. If they can't they will be facing very big fines.

It is no secret that Santa Monica Bay is one of the dirtiest beaches in Southern California.

"The pier is filthy. I have seen people throw trash over it, garbage bags, fast food, bottles, plastic bags. I have even seen syringes on the beach," said Steven Fisher, a Santa Monica resident.

According to one local regional water board it is not the people, but the cities that are the culprits.

Tuesday morning letters were sent out to 20 local governments notifying them of several pollution violations of Santa Monica Bay. One of the worst polluters is the city of Santa Monica with nearly 800 violations since September of 2006.

"Initially we were a little bit surprised given the fact that Santa Monica has been so proactive in urban runoff reduction measures," said Gil Barboa, Santa Monica Water Resources Manager.

Right now the 20 cities have a more than a month to clean up their act or face a fine. The fines can range from $10,000 to $25,000 a day. Santa Monica city officials are confident that they will not have to pay anything because they have already been doing their part to clean things up.

"We have a facility called the Santa Monica Urban Runoff Recycling Facility. It is really the first kind of water treatment plan in the nation that is specifically geared toward urban runoff," said Barboa.

It is the something the Regional Water Quality Control Board likes to hear. They are hoping that there letters and fines will serve as a warning.

The notice requires the city to provide a variety of information including the cause of the violations, the results of investigations into the source of the bacteria and the city's plan to clean up the problem.

Some say that it is going to take a lot more to get these cities to act.

"Ten thousand bucks that's like nothing. You've got to think that it's going to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for the labor, people and the equipment just to clean up these beaches," said a resident.

Southern California governments that received Regional Water Quality Control Board violation notices for pollution of Santa Monica Bay were:

  • Agoura Hills
  • Beverly Hills
  • Calabasas
  • Culver City
  • El Segundo
  • Hermosa Beach
  • Hidden Hills
  • Inglewood
  • Los Angeles
  • Los Angeles County
  • Malibu
  • Manhattan Beach
  • Palos Verdes Estates
  • Rancho Palos Verdes
  • Redondo Beach
  • Rolling Hills
  • Rolling Hills Estates
  • Santa Monica
  • Torrance
  • West Hollywood
  • Westlake Village


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