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OFFICIALS TO LOOK FOR SOURCE OF BEACH POLLUTION.

Byline: TROY ANDERSON Staff Writer

Amid a growing debate over whether waste from Hollywood stars is fouling Malibu beaches, Los Angeles County officials announced Thursday a $1 million campaign to identify and eliminate the sources of the pollution.

Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said health officials will use DNA testing to identify whether the record-high levels of bacteria are coming from the septic systems of Malibu residents, horse corrals, cattle, dogs or wild animals.

Authorities plan to focus the tests on the Ramirez Canyon and Escondido Creek areas.

The announcement of the $1 million campaign follows a report by Heal the Bay, which identified seven of the state's 10 worst beaches as being in the county and noted that several beaches north of the Santa Monica Bay exhibited ``horrendous water quality.''

``Escondido Beach, in the 16-year history of the report card, was the poorest grade we've ever seen,'' said Mark Gold, executive director of Heal the Bay. ``Literally 95 percent of the samples collected weekly over an 18-month period exceeded health and water-quality standards.''

Under the county plan, officials will also test water for signs of detergents and other pollutants. Malibu's 13,000 residents use septic tanks instead of sewer systems.

If the sources of contamination are determined to be leaking or poorly situated septic tanks, officials plan to get court orders, if necessary, to inspect underground tanks at the multimillion-dollar homes of some of the world's most famous people.

Many residents of the city that stretches along 25 miles of the Southern California coast have adamantly denied their homes are the sources of the contamination.

troy.anderson(at)dailynews.com

(213) 974-8985
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Oct 6, 2006
Words:271
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