Port of Los Angeles commission approves cost-sharing TMDL plan

Administrative action would monitor toxic pollutants in L.A. and Long Beach harbor waters.

SAN PEDRO—Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL, is back in the news again – though the sediment regulation’s return on the radar, at least at the Port of Los Angeles, is merely an administrative act.

The Port of Los Angeles’ Board of Harbor Commissioners approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), May 2, to meet administrative and cost-sharing obligations for the monitoring of TMDL toxic pollutants in Dominguez Channel and Los Angeles and Long Beach harbor waters. Los Angeles’ Harbor Department is considered a responsible party under the TMDL policy for the channel and harbor waters.

Port district staff stated the administrative and cost-sharing plan involved 12 responsible parties in all, with each party pooling efforts and resources to monitor toxic pollutants within local and regional waters.

The MOU is for five years, with the Port of Los Angeles on the hook for $265,655 during the length of the agreement (which amounts to $53,131 per year). Port district staff stated the total cost for the monitoring program is $1,859,920.

“The total cost is reduced to $1,364,845 by allowing seven individual discharge permittees (Kinder Morgan, Petro-Diamond, Tesoro, Metropolitan Stevedore, Vopak, Morton Salt, and Long Beach Generation) to use the [Regional Monitoring Coalition] monitoring data as non-members,” port district staff stated. “These permittees are obligated to perform monitoring under their National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System … permits.”

Others among the 12 responsible parties who are part of the administrative and cost-sharing plan Long Beach, Signal Hill and Los Angeles County Flood Control District; cities whose waters drain directly into the Greater Long Beach-Los Angeles Harbor are also named parties on the monitoring obligation and MOU.

“Among the many requirements for responsible parties is the mandate to prepare a comprehensive monitoring and reporting plan and to sample the sediment, water column, and fish tissue in the greater harbor waters area,” port district staff stated in a report to commissioners. “The three media must be analyzed for an extended list of pollutants, including metals and bioaccumulative organics. In addition, the sediment must be analyzed for toxicity and health of the benthic community. The water column must be sampled in both wet and dry weather.”

A 20-year Harbor Toxics TMDL schedule was implemented for the L.A. and Long Beach harbor region on March 23, 2012.

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