The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency settled a lawsuit filed by California environmental groups Heal the Bay and Santa Monica Baykeeper concerning pollution problems in over 100 rivers, creeks and beaches in Los Angeles and Ventura County.
As part of the settlement, EPA guaranteed that pollution reduction plans, known as Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs), will be established for all the named pollutants and water bodies over the next 13 years. A TMDL is the total amount of a pollutant a waterway can absorb and still meet water quality standards for uses such as drinking water, aquatic life and recreation. The Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board, which was not named in the lawsuit, has already agreed to develop TMDLs for many of the waters named in the suit.
The TMDL process was created as part of the Clean Water Act, and is primarily the responsibility of the state. If the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board misses a deadline, EPA has committed to establishing TMDLs within one year.
"We all want Los Angeles and Ventura County's beaches and rivers to be clean and safe, but wanting doesn't make it happen," said Felicia Marcus, administrator of EPA's IX Regional office, adding the TMDLs will provide a "road map and schedule to get the job done by state and federal agencies working with all sectors of the community."
Some of the pollutants found in the California waterways include PCBs, human fecal material and DDT.