L.A. County approves contract increase for TMDL management

Costs of annual environmental consulting services for Marina del Rey’s copper mitigation plan jumps to $150,000 to $500,000.

LOS ANGELES—Marina del Rey’s fight against copper pollution will become more costly, what with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approving a contract adjustment to fund environmental consulting services for management of toxic pollutants and bacteria at Southern California’s largest recreational boating harbor.

Supervisors approved the contract changes, which would cover the county’s Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) regulations for the Marina del Rey area, on Feb. 19.

The value of the county’s As-Needed Environmental Consulting Services Master Agreement will be increased $350,000, annually, during the length of the contract. The updated contract, which runs for up to seven years if all options are picked up along the way, would be worth $3,850,000 – up from the $1,155,000 originally approved by supervisors.

Each year’s environmental consulting services fee would cost the county $500,000, up from $150,000 annually. The total contract amount also includes a 10 percent contingency – $3.5 million for the environmental consulting services and $350,000 for contingency.

The original master agreement was approved in April 2018.

“The Department [of Beaches and Harbors] has increased its use of qualified contractors, including biologists, certified arborists, environmental specialists and water quality specialists, to comply with the Marina del Rey Toxic Pollutants and Bacteria Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDLs) directives and to continue to address increasing regulatory requirements in our Marina and beach environments,” county staff said in a report to supervisors. “The requested services are provided on an as-needed basis.”

County staff added the master agreement contract update was necessary in light of recent changes in the way TMDL regulations would be managed.

“The department was using a Department of Public Works (DPW contractor to serve as the TMDL manager, but DPW has advised that the department will no longer be able to utilize its contractor for this purpose,” county staff said. “The department has an active leading role in the environmental stewardship related to the management of the TMDLs.

“However, the department does not have specially-qualified in-house staff to address the complex scientific analyses needed to properly comply with regulatory objectives and TMDL management,” county staff continued.

Specific work on TMDL regulation or management is not included within the master agreement contract update. The update instead allows for the county to hire vendors to compete various work orders on TMDL management.

“The Master Agreements do not guarantee any contractor a minimum amount of work, and costs will only be incurred as services are requested through work orders. Payment for work will be on an hourly basis and subject to the total maximum compensation specified in each individual work order,” county staff stated in its report to commissioners. “There is no negative impact on current services or projects. Approval of this action will provide increased funding for the department’s continued use of contractors to provide essential environmental consulting services.”

County officials have been trying to address copper pollution and TMDL regulations at Marina del Rey since 2014. The large small craft harbor is facing a mandate to reduce copper levels within local waters by 85 percent within 11 years.

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