Calif. Water Pollution Plan Praised

Tuesday, August 1st 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) — Federal regulators have accepted a landmark California program to cut water pollution from runoff through voluntary measures, outreach programs and enforcement.

Environmental and industry representatives joined state and federal officials at a news conference Monday to praise the plan, which they called a comprehensive solution to fighting a problem that sickens beachgoers, hurts wildlife and taints drinking water.

``It ensures that everyone who's a part of the problem is doing their share to solve it,'' said David Beckman, senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group.

The program, which officials say is the first of its kind in the country, covers sources of both coastal and inland water pollution. It details more than 60 pollution-fighting measures, such as erosion and sediment control.

It will cost an estimated $14 billion in public and private funds over the next 30 years, said California Resources Agency Secretary Mary Nichols.

About $300 million will come from water and park bonds state voters approved in March. The state also will receive $10.6 million in federal Clean Water Act funds.

Enforcement efforts would not focus on individual homeowners, but on companies who refuse to change their operations, Nichols said. Runoff is believed to be the cause of about 70 percent of water pollution, she said.