Malibu Implements Smart Water Management With Completion of Water Treatment Facility

Oct. 5, 2018
Clean recycled water will be used for landscape irrigation, conserving high-quality drinking water.
MALIBU, CA, OCT 5, 2018 -- The City of Malibu Mayor and Councilmembers were joined on Friday, October 5 by State Senator Henry Stern, Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl and representatives of the State and Regional Water Quality Control Boards for a ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the official opening of Malibu's new Civic Center Water Treatment Facility.

“For decades, the City of Malibu, its businesses and residents have been trailblazers and respected leaders committed to protecting our natural resources and promoting responsible environmental programs,” said Mayor Rick Mullen. “The new water treatment facility furthers our commitment to smart, environmentally sound water management practices while combating the realities of climate change.”

Mayor Mullen was joined by Mayor Pro Tem Jefferson Wagner and Councilmembers Laura Rosenthal and Lou La Monte, all of whom guided the facility through the permitting and community outreach process to help ensure it would be completed on time, on budget, and would be as environmentally sustainable as possible.

The project supports local efforts to address California’s drought by reducing the use of high-quality drinking water to irrigate our public spaces and parks. At full capacity, the treatment facility will save the Malibu community 70 million gallons of much-needed drinking water annually.

The $60 million state-of-the-art facility was made possible through the cooperation of Civic Center property owners with assistance from the State Water Board. The City formed a community facilities district to fund the design and then formed an assessment district among Civic Center properties to fund the construction. The City was able to secure a $9 million grant, a 1% interest State Revolving Fund loan of $24.6 million and a 1.7% interest State Revolving Fund Loan of $26.8 million that helps lower the annual assessments for each property owner.

Attendees of the ribbon cutting took guided tours of the facility to view and learn about the system’s major features. Using innovative technology, the facility will capture and treat up to 200,000 gallons of wastewater daily and convert the water for irrigation purposes. The treatment plant uses multiple processes to produce clean, Title 22 recycled water, including particle filtration, centrifuges, ultra-fine filtration membranes, bio-digestion, and UV light to kill any remaining bacteria and viruses.

“This advanced water treatment facility puts Malibu at the forefront of water recycling to address climate change and drought,” said Senator Henry Stern, whose 27th District includes Malibu. “As someone who grew up in Malibu, I couldn’t be prouder of the city’s environmental leadership.”

“Malibu may be a small city, but when it comes to environmental stewardship, it stands tall,” said Assemblymember Richard Bloom, whose 50th District includes Malibu, in a submitted statement. “The city has consistently been a leader on issues ranging from plastic pollution to water quality. It comes as no surprise that it would apply that same spirit of environmental leadership in opening this new state-of-the-art water recycling facility, which will benefit the environment and the Malibu community.”

The plant will improve the quality of life and Malibu experience for residents and visitors by replacing outdated septic systems. Reverse air pressure in all buildings prevents bad odors from escaping, and the air that is drawn out is pushed out through a bed of mulch and wood chips, forming an all-natural, chemical-free filtration process to reduce the impact of foul smells on the surrounding community.

“Every drop of water is precious to L.A. County. Malibu’s new state-of-the-art water treatment facility will move us closer to a sustainable future by recycling treated wastewater and using it to keep our public spaces green,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, District 3, representing Malibu.

State Water Resources Control Board Deputy Director Leslie Laudon and Regional Water Quality Control Board Chair Madelyn Glickfeld were also on hand.

The facility represents a responsible approach to managing the region’s most precious resource: water. The millions of gallons of clean, recycled water produced will irrigate popular community gathering areas and public spaces, including Legacy Park, Bluffs Park, and City Hall.

Like Malibu, forward thinking municipalities and public agencies throughout California are implementing local water supply projects, including wastewater treatment, water recycling, stormwater capture and conservation, to diversify their water supply portfolios, reduce their reliance on imported water supplies and improve overall reliability in the face of climate change. Wastewater treated by the new Civic Center facility represents a meaningful way to help ease the impacts of future drought cycles.

High resolution photos and videos, including drone video of the water treatment facility, and infographics:

Video tour highlighting the facility’s features:

Photo album from the ribbon cutting:

To learn more about the new facility and the City of Malibu's continued commitment to environmental sustainability, please visit

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