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2 Sources of Pollution and Habitat Change Southern Californians have lived with contaminants and habitat change since before 1572, when Juan Cabrillo's ship entered the Bahia de Los Fuo- mos (Bay of Smokes, now Santa Monica Bay) and witnessed coastal Indians sealing their boats with tar from local oil seeps. I6day, the ever-growing population of about 15 million has dramatically increased its utilization of marine resources and the types and amounts of contaminants produced and released to the Southern California Bight. These contaminants stem from sewage discharges, aerial fallout, land runoff, industrial and munitions disposal, dredged material disposal, and thermal enrichment. As a result, some of the bight's coastal waters and underlying sediments have become polluted and marine resources have been degraded. This chapter describes the major human activities that have impacted the bight's marine environment and discusses in detail the various con- taminants that may derive from these activities. They include wastes from petroleum exploration and production, radionuclides, pathogenic organ- isms, waste heat, organic matter, nutrients, trace metals, and synthetic organic chemicals. Since this chapter is intended to provide an overview of contamination, sources and amounts of contaminants rather than their environmental impacts are emphasized, followed by a brief overview of the regional and local environmental problems that have attracted public, regulatory, and scientific attention. 16
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17 TABLE 2-1 Total Estimated Average Daily Wastewater Flows in 1984-1985 to the Southern California Bight from Seven Large Publicly Owned Sewage Treatment Plants Outfall Name Discharge (millions of gal/day) Primal SecondarySludge Oxnard> Ventura County Sanitation Districts None 18None Hypenon, Los Angeles City Bureau of Salutation 292 974 Joint Water Pollution Control Plant, Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts 183b 179None County Sanitation Districts of Orange County 94 138None South East Regional Reclamation Authonty 12.5 NoneNone Encina Water Pollution Control Facility 11 5None Point Loma, City of San Diego 156 NoneNone Totals 742 4434 Grand total 1,190 Tenninated, per court order, November 1987. bAdvanced pnma~y, which removes 80 percent of solids (granary removes 60 percent). SOURCE: SCCWRP, 1986a. MAJOR SOURCES OF CONTAMINANTS Sixteen municipal sewage treatment plants discharge partially treated sewage directly into the U.S. waters of the Southern California Bight. In addition, more than 230 million gal/day of treated sewage is carried by coastal rivers and storm drains from inland Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTWs). In 1985, over 1.2 billion gallons of effluent were dis- charged daily into the bight's coastal waters by seven major municipal wastewater dischargers (Bible 2-1 and Figure 2-1~. Over the years, major strides have been made to decrease the amounts of total solids and contaminants in the discharges, even as the total vol- ume of sewage discharges has increased (Figure 2-2) (Southern California Coastal Water Research Project iSCCWRP], 1986a; Summers et al., 1987~. This has been accomplished primarily by a gradual but progressive shift over the last 100 years from discharge of raw sewage, to discharge of primary treated sewage, to discharge of advanced primary and secondary treated sewage (Figure 2-3~; by a gradual phaseout of pipeline discharge of sludge; and, most important, by source control. In 1985, 62.4 percent of the total sewage from the seven major dischargers received primary treatment, 37.2
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19 1 ,400 1 ,200 3: 1,000 o 800 600 400 200 o 1880 1 DOO 1920 1940 1960 1980 - I/ - YEAR FIGURE 2-2 Municipal wastewater flow (millions of gallons per day) for the years 1890 to 1990 through sewage treatment facilities in Southern California that discharge treated wastewater to the Southern California Bight. SOURCE: Summers et al., 1987. 1 ,000 800 ' 600 C] 400 200 ,~ ,- _ At _./ _ its /._~, _~ ~ O C 1880 1900 1920 1940 1960 1980 FIGURE 2-3 Annual municipal wastewater flow to the ocean (millions of gallons per day) by treatment level in Los Angeles County, California (raw,-; primary, - - -; secondary, -.-.-.~. SOURCE: Summers et al., 1987. percent received secondary treatment, and 0.4 percent was anaerobically digested sewage sludge, discharged from the Hyperion Treatment Plant. The Hyperion Treatment Plant operated by the city of Los Angeles discharged sludge from 1957 through 1987 via an ocean outfall in 318 ft of
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20 water at the head of the Santa Monica submarine canyon in Santa Monica Bay. The County Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles discharges the liquid phase produced by dewatering sludge by centrifugation. Prior to 1983, this waste water contained high concentrations of solids (sludge). In 1983, new centrifuges with improved solids recovery (90 to 95 percent) came on line, resulting in a significant reduction in solids emissions. The Sanitation Districts of Orange County ceased discharging sludge to the ocean in 1984. The city of San Diego's Point Loma Treatment Plant discharged sludge to the ocean only during emergencies, when a pipeline to the Mission Bay drying beds was inoperative. Most sewage sludge is now disposed of onshore. However, the shift from primary to secondary treatment results in a substantial increase (ap- proximately double) in the volume of sludge generated. Although it has been suggested that various ocean disposal options may be reconsidered for handling increasing volumes of sludge (Conrad, 1985), ocean dumping is no longer an option. Other possible uses of sludge are comporting, use in industrial processes, and landfill cover. Because the Southern California Bight region is semiarid, design re- quirements for storm water and sanitary sewer-handling systems are quite different. As a consequence, storm drainage and sanitary sewer systems have been separate throughout the history of the region, unlike nearly all other major U.S. coastal urban areas. Surface runoff from land enters the bight through 150 natural streams (Figure 1-2) and 18 hydrologic units. In addition, there are several major channels in Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego counties for stormwater runoff. In the Los Angeles County Flood Control District alone, there are 2,000 mi of underground drains, 500 mi of open channels, and 50,000 catch basins. Most of the surface water flow of 405 million gal/day (peak value) enters the bight from 20 major streams and channels, mostly in pulse inputs during winter storms. There are, in addition, hundreds of individual storm drains that discharge directly to the ocean. Harbors and marinas are sources of local and, in some cases, regional contaminant inputs to the bight. For instance, a 1973 study (SCCWRP, 1973) indicated that 80,000 gal of antifouling paints containing 180 tons of copper were applied annually to many of the 35,000 recreational boats and numerous commercial and naval vessels that use these facilities. Most of this copper eventually dissolved into the water. In recent years, organotin compounds have largely replaced copper in antifouling paints, creating an even greater problem because of their high toxicity to marine animals. San Diego Bay and Los Angeles and Long Beach harbors are contaminated with organotins, with measured concentrations in the water column in the range of 0.02 to 0.93 mg/liter, and concentrations in sediments at least a hundredfold higher (Grovhoug et al., 1986~. Many power boats and
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21 TABLE 2-2 Estimated Annual Inputs ~Ietuc Tons/Year) of Trace Metals to the Southem Califomia Bight Municipal, Dry Stonn runoff Thermal waste water fallout 1971- 1972- discharge Metal 1976 1975 1972 1973 1977 Cadmimn (Cd) 45 0.84 1.2 2.8 0.3 Chromium (Cr) 593 6.6 25 60 0.6 Copper (Cu) 507 31 18 42 2.1 Lead (Pb) 190 240 90 210 0.8 MercuIy (Hg) 2.6 --- --- 043 ~~ Nickel (Ni) 307 12 17 41 0.7 Silver (Ag) 20 0.06 1.1 2.6 - Zinc (oh) 1,060 150 101 240 1.8 ·Before initiation of industrial wastewater source control. SOURCE: Young et al., 1973, 1978. submerged metal structures are equipped with sacrificial anodes designed to help prevent corrosion of submerged metal structures. These anodes leach aluminum, copper, and zinc. Along the coast of the bight, there are 14 steam electricity generating stations that use sea water for once-through cooling. Total cooling-water flow from the plants is about 10.7 billion gaVday. The San Onofre Nu- clear Generating Station (SONGS) alone has a base flow of about 2.4 billion gaVday. These flows introduce heat and small amounts of coincides (chlorine), radionuclides, and metals Gable 2-2) into the bight ecosystem. In addition, cooling-water intakes entrain large numbers of fish larvae and plankton and impinge adult fish and other marine organisms. Dur- ing the special 316b study period from October 1978 through September 1980, Southern California Edison Company's eight coastal power plants impinged an average of 2.2 million fish per year, at an average total weight of 215,000 lbs (Herbinson, 1981~. Fish impingement since this study period has averaged approximately half this amount. This is because surf perches, which made up a large percentage of fish impinged during the study pe- riod, decreased drastically in abundance during the El Nino periods of the 1980s and have only recently begun to reappear (K P. Herbinson, Southern California Edison, Co., personal communication). Other sources of contaminant inputs to the bight include more than 60 discharges permitted under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), from coastal industrial operations, more than 25 permit- ted discharges of produced water from offshore oil and gas platforms, spills, atmospheric fallout, and permitted ocean dumping of dredged material and drilling muds. The volumes of permitted discharges from coastal industries and offshore oil production platforms are small compared to wastewater
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22 discharges from municipal treatment plants. The Chevron refinery at E1 Segundo discharges about 6.5 million gaVday of treated brine and process water to Santa Monica Bay. Offshore oil or gas production platforms may (if permitted by NPDES) discharge up to about 0.25 million gal/day of produced water. Inputs of various waste waters are not evenly distributed along the coast. Most of the inputs are located between Point Dume and San Mateo Point. They include approximately 82 percent of municipal wastewater effluents, 95 percent of discrete industrial wastewater discharges, 70 percent of power plant cooling water returns, and 71 percent of surface-water runoff. Oil and gas production and associated discharges occur in state and federal waters between Point Conception and Huntington Beach. Thus, there are large areas of the bight north and south of Los Angeles where discharges of waste waters to the bight are minimal. CLASSES OF CONTAMINANTS Oil Exploration and Production Wastes and Petroleum Natural seeps along the coasts of Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los An- geles, and Orange counties intermittently or continuously discharge large quantities of oil and tar to nearshore waters of the bight. Fischer (1978) estimated that as few as 2,000 and as many as 30,000 metric tons (10 million gal) of oil enter the Santa Barbara Channel each year from natural seeps, the best known at Coal Oil Point. (By comparison, the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound, Alaska, leaked 11 million gal of oil into marine waters.) The intertidal zone at Goleta is chronically contaminated with oil and tar from this seep. One hundred years ago, the U.S. Fish Commission steamer Albatross dispatched an observer to report on a huge fish kill extending from Santa Barbara to San Diego. He counted thousands of pelagic and demersal fish on the Santa Monica Bay beach at Redondo, many of them smelling of petroleum, and suggested that the event was caused by seepage from offshore "oil springs." The first offshore oil well in the world was drilled in 1898 from a wooden pier extending into the surf zone near Summerland, California. By the mid-1980s, more than 25,000 oil and gas wells had been drilled in U.S. coastal and outer continental shelf waters. In Southern California, a large number of oil and gas fields has been discovered along the coast, both in state waters and in federal lease tracts between Point Conception and Huntington Beach (Figure 2-4~. Additional fields are now being developed in federal waters north of the bight between Point Conception and San Luis Obispo. As of July 31, 1987, a total of 318 exploratory and 633 development
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23 121. 4 5 30 35. 45 30 15' 34. 15 120. 45 30 119~15 1 1 [. 1 1 1 1 1 1 _ 35. 3-Geographical'| ~ e ·Santa Maria 45, :20 '5. '18. Mlle Llne ( l San Luls ~38 '& ~ ~,Obispo \,,39 0' 10 M' ~ ~ ~7; California (~each - ( lo'" ' ~-fit. ) ~ · Lompoc Hunting ton`:,,>~ 3~/ ~ 4. .( (,` ~| ~ Hydrocarbon Field | i-~- Ga iota 22 | ,0, 6 .~? lo' I 7~ ~~?` Santa Barbara - _ ~terla 2 9 =:i:u r a _ 34 \\3 5\, Pacific Ocean ~ 3~ 121 45' 30' 1S 120 45 30 119-15 33~45 45 30 15 34. FIGURE 2-4 Major offshore oil and gas fields in state and federal waters of the Southern California Bight. Names of fields are 1, San Miguel; 2, Point Sal; 3, Point Pedernales; 4, unnamed 0443; 5, Bonito; 6, Electra; 7, Point Arguello; 8, Rocly Point; 9, Jalama; 10, Sword; 11, Government Point; 12, 13, Conception Offshore; 14, Sacate; 15, Pescado; 16, Cuarta Offshore; 17, Alegna Offshore; 18, Hondo; 19, Caliente Offshore; 20, Gaviota Odshore; 21, Moleno Offshore; 22, Capitan; 23, Naples Offshore; 24, Ellwood; 25, South Elwood Offshore; 26, 27, Coal Oil Point; 28, Santa Rosa; 29, Dos Cuadras; 30, Summerland Offshore; 31, Pitas Point; 32, Carpinteria; 33, Rincon Onshore; 34, Santa Clara; 35, West Montalvo; 36, Sockeye; 37, Hueneme; 38, Venice Beach; 39, Playa del Rey; 40, Torrance; 41, Wilmington; 42, Belmont Onshore; 43, Huntington Beach Offshore; 44, Beta Northwest; 45, Beta; 46, West Newport Onshore. SOURCE: hIMS, 1987. wells had been drilled in federal lease tracts off Southern California, most of them in the bight (Minerals Management Service [MMS], 1987~. As early as the 1920s, state fish and game wardens were frequently citing oil operations for beach spills and fish and shellfish kills. By the 1930s, these officers began reporting cooperation, cleanup, and adoption of preventive measures by the offshore oil industry to avoid oil spills. However, in large part because of the highly visible Santa Barbara Channel oil blowout of 1969, many people in Southern California consider offshore oil exploration and production to be a highly hazardous and polluting activity. In U.S. waters, spill records from offshore platforms show that of 5 billion barrels of oil produced on 41 million acres of offshore tracts leased in federal waters since 1954, 61,000 barrels were spilled (MMS, 1987), less than 0.001 percent of production. During the 1950s and 1960s, marine life barely existed in the inner
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24 Long Beach and Los Angeles harbors, due mainly to oxygen depletion resulting from the discharge of refinery waste waters directly into the inner harbors (Soule and Ogun, 1979; Reish et al., 1980~. By the late 1960s, these inputs were reduced and partly diverted to the Los Angeles County sewage treatment plant at Carson, from which they were discharged with treated sewage off Palos Verdes. The harbors recovered, but their sediments remain heavily contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons, metals, and other contaminants. Today, many sources of petroleum hydrocarbon inputs to the ocean are recognized (National Research Council [NRC], 1985), and discharge of treated sewage may be a major source of aromatic and aliphatic hydrocar- bons in coastal waters. Eganhouse and Kaplan (1982) estimated that the five largest municipal wastewater treatment plants in Southern California discharge a combined total of 17,400 metric tons per year of petroleum hydrocarbons to the Southern California Bight. Dunn and Young (1976) measured elevated concentrations of the car- cinogenic aromatic hydrocarbon, benzo~a~pyrene, in the mussel Mytilus edulis in Southern California. Me highest concentrations occurred in mus- sels collected at harbor entrances. More recently, Anderson and Gossett (1986) confirmed that some Southern California harbor sediments and biota contain elevated concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Re- sults of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Mussel Watch Program reveal three locations in the bight where mussels contain elevated concentrations of total polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons: San Diego Bay, Los Angeles Harbor, and Marina del Rey (Boehm et al., 19~. These high-molecular-weight aromatic hydrocarbons are derived from creosoted pilings, industrial (especially refinery) effluents, domestic sewage, oil spills, aerial fallout, and bilge water from ships, particularly crude oil tankers. It is difficult, if not impossible, to construct a complete mass balance and describe long-term trends for all sources of inputs of petroleum hy- drocarbons to the bight. However, inputs of petroleum hydrocarbons in treated sewage are known to have declined as the "oil and grease" fraction of the sewage declined during the last 15 years due to improved removal methods and implementation of source control and pretreatment programs. For the major treatment plants monitored by SCCWRP (1986a), oil and grease discharges decreased by approximately one-half, from 63,000 metric tons per year in 1971 to 34,300 metric tons per year in 1985. Concentrations of total oil and grease in runoff from land and stormwa- ter flows can be quite high. Gossett et al. (1985) estimated that the mass emission of oil and grease from the Los Angeles River was 28,600 metric tons in 1985. Some of this undoubtedly is derived from treated waste water discharged to the river by sewage treatment plants upstream.
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25 Produced water containing up to 59 mg/liter total oil may be discharged to the ocean. If there were 25 platforms in the Southern California Bight, each discharging 0.25 million gal/day of produced water containing 50 mg/liter total oil, the amount of petroleum discharged each year from this source would amount to 450 metric tons, which is significantly less than the amount discharged from municipal wastewater outfalls in the bight. Refinery discharges have not been quantified but probably contribute a similar amount. Radionuclides During the 1940s, 1950s, and early 1960s, atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons by the United States, France, and the Soviet Union in the tropical Pacific, the southwest United States, and elsewhere led to the release of large amounts of radioisotopes into the atmosphere and to significant fallout of radionuclides throughout the Northern Hemisphere. There was considerable concern in California about contamination of lee he vegetable crops. Young and Folsom (1973) reported that in 1967 mussels and barnacles were contaminated with radio-manganese, cobalt, and zinc in a gradient extending from shore to far out to sea. By 1971, these radionuclides were no longer detectable in mussel tissues. Concentrations of plutonium and americium in mussels from the bight are not elevated above normal background values (Goldberg et al., 1978b). I\vo ocean dump sites designated in the bight for the disposal of radioactive wastes were used between 1947 and 1968. There is continued public concern about possible emissions of radionuclides to the bight from SONGS at San Clemente, and in treated sewage effluents. All discharges to the air and water from SONGS are monitored for radioactivity (Southern California Edison Company, 1987; see also Chapter 4~. Sea water from the cooling- water outfall region contained natural background levels of potassium-40, but no radionuclides derived from the station. Ultratrace concentrations of cobalt-58, cobalt-60, silver-110, and cesium-137 derived from the station were detected in fish and invertebrates around the outfalls. Monitoring data from 1979 to 1985 revealed that concentrations of these radionuclides were not increasing over time in the animal tissues. The highest concentrations observed were only 1.8 percent of the levels that must be reported to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Bacteria and Pathogens Raw sewage was discharged directly into the Southern California Bight beginning before the turn of the century. However, it was not until the 1940s that public concern about the human health risks from pathogens
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26 associated with this discharge led to closure of beaches along Santa Monica Bay and in Orange County. During the late 1950s, these beaches were reopened to swimming as treatment practices improved and wastewater outfalls were diverted to deeper locations. Daily monitoring of bacteria has revealed that coliform counts at beach stations in Santa Monica Bay declined by several orders of magnitude between 1945 and 1964, and have since fluctuated around this lower level (Figure 2-5~. In spite of improvements elsewhere in the bight, significant bacterial contamination of swimming beaches persists south of San Diego. This is due to the discharge of raw sewage from Tijuana, Mexico, directly into the surf zone just south of the U.S.-Mexican border or into the Tijuana River, which empties into the bight just north of the border (Hickey, 1986~. As a result, Border Field State Park and beaches as far north as Imperial Beach remain under quarantine. This problem persists despite the diversion of up to 13 million gal/day of sewage from Tijuana to the San Diego metropolitan sewer system, which occurred until 1986, when the Tijuana treatment facility came on line. San Diego now only treats emergencies (averaging less than 1 million gaVday). The total sewage how for T]uana has been estimated by the U.S. EPA and the International Boundary and Water Commission at between 32 and 38 million gaVday.~day, regulatory limits for conforms in recreational waters are occasionally exceeded at some beaches following pump failures or overflows at treatment plants or flows into the stormwater drainage system due to infrequent heavy precipitation. Discharge of toilet wastes from recrea-tional vessels can be a major source of bacterial contamination in Newport Harbor and other marinas (Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board, 1985~. While regulatory limits have not been established for enteroviruses and other viral pathogens, the presence of such viruses in wastewater effluent and in sea water has been established (Morris et al., 1976~. Concern about pathogens in coastal waters of the bight has historically focused on beaches and the adjacent surf zone. However, increased use of offshore kelp beds by recreational and commercial divers prompted the State Water Resources Control Board to amend the California Ocean Plan to extend monitoring of surface waters for bacterial contamination to offshore kelp beds. Thermal Discharges The 14 coastal power plants along the U.S. and Mexican shore of the Southern California Bight generate a tremendous amount of excess heat annually. In 1972 coastal power plants generated an estimated 2 x 107 kw of excess heat (SCCWRP, 1973), and that amount is substantially higher at present. Much of this heat is discharged to the coastal zone
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31 are quite rare and wastewater discharges are continuous, it appears that factors other than these discharges play a more important role in causing blooms. Dairy wastes, irrigation tailwaters, and urban lawn fertilizers in runoff can contribute to eutrophication in coastal estuaries and lagoons. High concentrations of nitrate in runoff water have been implicated in blooms of nuisance algae in Newport Bay (Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board, 1987). Mace Metals There have been several attempts to estimate the fluxes of metals to the Southern California Bight from different sources. In studies performed in the 1970s, municipal waste water was found to be the major source of several metals Cable 2-2). In contrast, most of the lead entering the bight came from dry fallout from the atmosphere and stormwater runoff from land, derived primarily from combustion of leaded gasoline in automobiles. Garber (1987) found that from 1967 through 1982 the amounts of lead and mercury entering Santa Monica Bay in stormwater runoff were 40 and 52 percent, respectively, of the amounts entering the bay in municipal wastewater discharges. Garber also confirmed earlier conclusions that wastewater discharges were the major source of all other metals entering the bay. Dry or wet deposition of metal from brushfire smoke may be an additional source of metals in coastal waters (Young and Jan, 1977). In the past 15 years, municipal sewage treatment plants have under- taken source control programs, enforced stringent pretreatment programs, and adopted procedures (including secondary treatment) that reduce the particulate emissions with which most metals are associated. As a result, the concentrations and mass emission rates of most metals have decreased dramatically in recent years (Figure 2-6). Mass emissions of several metals in sewage have decreased five- to sixfold between 1971 and 1985 (SCCWRP, 1986a). One exception is silver, for which the mass emission rate has in- creased from 17.7 metric tons in 1971 to 27 metric tons in 1985 (SCCWRP, mesa). The history of metal inputs to the bight from all sources is neatly recorded in layered sediments in its basins. They reveal that inputs in- creased annually through the late 1960s, then began decreasing, probably due to decreases in mass emissions of metals in sewage (Bruland et al., 1974~. Synthetic Organic Chemicals Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and the pesticide DDT have been
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32 TABLE 2-3 Estimated Anr~ual Emissions (Kilograms/Year) of Selected Chlorinated Hydrocarbons to the Southern Califomia Bight from Different Sources Source Year Total DDTDieldnnTotal PCBs Municipal waste waters 1972 6,490100- 19,460 1973 3,920< 2803,410 1974 1,580955,290 197S 1,270---3,080 1 976 940---2,8 10 1977 770---1,560 Harbor/industrial 1973-74 4010~ 100 Antifouling paint 1973 < 1---< 1 Surface runoff 1971-72 10020190-280 1972-73 32065250-830 Aerial falloutb 1973-74 1,400---1,100 Ocean currents 1973 ~ 7,000---< 4,000 aValues are lower than those in SCCWRP (1986) because fewer treatment plants were considered. Includes only the inner, nearshore zone of the bight (400 x 50 km). SOURCE: Young and Heesen, 1978; Young et al., 1981. monitored extensively in the bight ecosystem since the early 1970s. At that time, municipal waste water was the principal source of these contaminants (Table 2-3), with additional inputs from aerial fallout and surface runoff from land (Young et al., 1976~. Garber (1987) reported that between 1967 and 1982, stormwater runoff contributed 7 percent of the total identifiable chlorinated hydrocarbons contributed by municipal waste water to Santa Monica Bay. The DDT came from a local manufacturer, which discharged its wastes into the Los Angeles County sewer system from 1947 to 1971 (Chartrand et al., 1985), and other pesticides and PCBs came from a variety of sources. Analysis of dated sediment cores from the Santa Barbara Basin revealed that deposition (and therefore discharge) of PCBs to the bight began about 1945 and deposition of DDT began about 1952 (Hoary et al., 19744. Gradients of DDT and its breakdown products in coastal mussels and sediments clearly point to the Los Angeles County outfalls as the major source of DDT (Figure 2-7~. Body burdens of DDT in commercial fish also are highest off the Los Angeles metropolitan area and decline steadily from Southern California to Alaska, with slight elevations in fish from San Francisco Bay and Puget Sound (Matins et al., 1987; McCain et al., 1988~. Among west coast mussels sampled in the NOAA National Status and Trends Program, those from the Los Angeles area had the highest body burdens of DDT (Matte et al., 1985; Boehm et al., 1988~. In 1987, mussels from San Diego Bay contained the highest mean concentrations of PCBs along the west coast (2.1 ppm). Mussels from the Los Angeles
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33 area contained a mean of 0.72 ppm PCBs (13oehm et al., 1988). Mussels in the San Diego area have contained elevated concentrations of PCBs since at least 1976 (Barrington, 1983~. The source of this contamination is uncertain. In the 1970s, manufacture and u~ of DDT and PCBs in the United States were banned by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and since that time emissions of these highly toxic contaminants to the U.S. environment have declined dramatically. With cessation of discharges of DDT to the Los Angeles County sewage treatment plant in 1971, emis- sions of DDT from the seven largest municipal wastewater plants dropped dramatically, from 21.7 metric tons in 1971 to 6.6 metric tons in 1972 (SCCWRP, 1986a). Emissions of DDT continued to drop each year and were about 58 kg in 1985. Discharges of PCBs reached a peak of 9.8 metric tons in 1972 and have declined gradually to 0.82 metric tons in 1985. This decline is reflected in the sediments of the anoxic Santa Barbara Basin (Hoary et al., 1974~. By 1970, the California brown pelican had been driven almost to ex- tinction in U.S. waters from eating DDT- and PCB-contaminated anchovies (Chartrand et al., 1985~. Although still on the endangered species list, the bird has made a significant comeback in the 16 years since DDT was banned (Schreiber, 1980~. Much less attention has been paid to fluxes of other synthetic organic chemicals. There is evidence that several other pesticides are important contaminants in municipal waste and storm waters. The state mussel watch program has identified several hot spots of dieldrin, chlordane, and toxaphene in shallow coastal waters and bays. The pesticides aldrin, heptachlor, and heptachlor epoxide were found in tissues of mussels from coastal regions of northern Baja California (Gutierrez-Galindo et al., 1983), but not in mussels collected by the California Mussel Watch Program along the U.S. coast of the bight (Ladd et al., 1984~. A possible source of these pesticides is the Tijuana raw sewage discharge at San Antonio de Los Buenos Creek. Priority pollutant scans of sewage of the effluent in the monitoring programs of the major municipal dischargers have revealed a wide variety of chlorinated solvents and other synthetic organic chemicals. No attempts have been made to date to estimate the fluxes of these chemicals to the bight from different sources. Ocean Dumping Fourteen ocean dump sites designated for disposal of a wide variety of waste materials operated for various lengths of time between 1931 and 1973 in the Southern California Bight (Figure 2-8; Chartrand et al., 1985~.
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34 ~e ·~ ~ 20,000 1 0,000 300,000 200,000 1 00,000 o 1 ,000 E 100 10 1.0 1,000 100 10 100 10 1.0 0.1 0.01 10 1.0 0.1 0.01 0.001 Am. ' I:.. ~_! ^ me. ~ : .~. ~: BOO COD - ~ At ~COPPER }4 I A v- W _~L - ~ ~ A Zl NC ~ Ram , ~ TOTAL DOT ~ h ~- '~_TOTAL PCB FIGURE 2-7 Variations in concentrations of six materials in surficial sediments from 77 stations along the 60-m isobath during spring and summer, 1978. The large peak is centered around the Palos Verdes discharge. Secondary peaks for some parameters are centered around the other major discharges. The major source of DDT is the Palos Verdes outfalls. SOURCE: Word and Mearns, 1979.
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35 Between 1947 and 1961, the California Salvage Company dumped a variety of liquid industrial wastes, including approximately 2,000 to 3,000 gaVday of an acid sludge containing DDT from Montrose Chemical Company, at Dump Site No. 1 located about 10 nautical miles north of Santa Catalina Island. In 1961, the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board began regulating ocean dumping off Los Angeles County and legal ocean dumping of DDT ceased. All legal ocean dumping at this site ceased in 1973. Chartrand et al. (1985) cite instances of illegal dumping of DDT- contaminated wastes off Palos Verdes in the 1970s. Since 1977, four open-ocean locations have been designated by the EPA for use by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) as interim disposal sites for dredged materials (P. Cotton, U.S. EPA Region IX, personal communication; 40 CF~ 228 12A). Dump site LA-1 is off Port Hueneme, LA-2 is off Los Angeles and Long Beach harbors, LA-3 is off Newport Beach, and LA-5 is off Point Loma. Approximately 2 and 3 million yd3 of dredged material from Los Angeles and Long Beach harbors and San Diego Harbor have been dumped at the LA-2 and LA-5 dump sites, respectively. This dredged material probably was contaminated with a wide variety of chemicals, but no monitoring is being performed to determine if chemicals are being leached from it. EPA recently designated an ocean disposal site for oil well drilling muds and drill cuttings. The site is about 16 nautical miles from Long Beach Harbor and is near the center of the San Pedro Basin. It has been used by the THUMS Long Beach Company for disposal of drilling muds and cuttings generated during drilling from four islands in Long Beach Harbor. OVERVIEW OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS Contaminant input, resource exploitation, and habitat modifications due to construction and other economic activity have led to a suite of environmental problems in the Southern California Bight. Some of them are regionwide, while others are relatively localized. It is beyond the scope of this case study to present a detailed review of all environmental problems, however, awareness of their diversity is important to understanding the monitoring programs described and analyzed in Chapters 4 through 6. The following sections therefore present a brief listing of major environmental problems in the bight, and describe two of them in more detail: DDT contamination and the transport of sewage contamination from Mexico into U.S. waters.
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36 1 Refinery and 1 chemical wastes 2 3 4 34o 32° Boo 1 JO 1 1 1 1 1 1:. ~i.2 - SAN LUIS OBISPO _ 1 947-73 1 96~71 1 946-71 1 947-71 7 1960 67 8 1 969-70 Oil well drilling wastes 2 Refuse and garbage 4 5 9 13 Radioactive wastes 10 14 Military explosives 6 11 12 1 931 -71 1 94~70 1 947~68 1 931 -72 1 946 68 1 946~68 1 94~70 1 94~70 1 94~70 1 1 1 0 50 1 00 STATUTE MILES \ 1966 70 \ 10 \ \ \ \ 12. 'my 13 \ \ \ \ s \ 7 1 1 1 1 1 . 1 1 1 id, ~: POINT CONCEPTION Iat: :~.:.J.- - I~ SAN BUENAVENTURA \ ~ <;~, ~ SANTA MONICA it. ~NEWPORT BEACH ·11 · \.~ 1' 6 1' \.: , SAN DIEGO · ~MEXICO 9 te \ \;. . ~ ENSENADA all:-' J. . t: \.. W \ CABO COLNETT 1: I-:~ SAN At- QUINTIN ~- ~_ V _ 1 1:-. 116° 1 24° 1 22° 1 20° 118° FIGURE 2-8 Ocean dump sites designated and used between 1947 and 1973. The THUMS dump site is near position 2. SOURCE: Chartrand et al., 1985. Bightwide Environmental Issues Many environmental problems from both human activity and natural processes in the bight extend throughout the entire bight or are extensive enough that they cross regulatory and legal boundaries. They include: · impacts on fish and shellfish populations from commercial and sport fishing; · impacts on fish populations from entrainment of larvae and im- pingement of adults by coastal power plants; · large changes in fish populations (e.g., sardines) resulting from in- completely understood interactions between natural environmental changes and fishing activity; · impacts on individual fish species from loss of nursery habitat due to construction and dredging; · large changes in the areal extent of kelp beds resulting from natural environmental changes and contamination;
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37 · regional changes in plankton populations due to nutrient enrich- ment by waste water; · regional contamination of sediments and biota resulting from toxics in waste water, storm drain, and nonpoint source inflows; · regional contamination of water resulting from pathogens in waste water, storm drain, and nonpoint source inflows; and ~ cumulative effects that derive from the combination of regional and local impacts on specific resources. DDT Contamination One regional problem has attracted international attention. In 1967, high concentrations of DDT were reported in fish from California coastal waters (Risebrough et al., 1967~. By 1970, it was known that the Montrose Chemical Company was disposing of large amounts of DDT via the Los Angeles County ocean sewage outfalls off Palos Verdes and by ocean dumping. During the next decade, numerous surveys documented the occurrence of the pesticide throughout the bight, south to Baja California, and far up coast to the north in many species of marine animals, including sea birds, seals, sea lions, and porpoises. Retrospective analyses of museum fish and dated sediment samples revealed that regionwide contamination began as early as 1950 (Chartrand et al., 1985~. Until it was banned in the United States in the early 1970s, large amounts of DDT were used for agricultural and insect control. Some of the DDT reached the bight in aerial fallout, runoff from land, and municipal sewage (Young et al., 1976~. DDT continues to be used in Baja California and some of it continues to reach the bight in stormwater runoff. In recent years, large concentra- tions of DDT in mussels from Newport Bay have been reported (Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board, 1985~. These increased concentra- tions may be derived from agricultural soils being plowed or cleared for subdivision development and contaminating stormwater runoff. During the last decade, DDT emissions have been reduced a thousandfold (Figure 2-9) and contamination of intertidal organisms and fishes has declined (Matte et al., 1986~. The widespread contamination that resulted from the combina- tion of a large point source and many nonpoint source inputs dramatically illustrates the potential for localized problems to become regional problems over time. U.S.-M0cico Sewage Contamination The headwaters and mouth of the Tijuana River are in the United States, although 70 percent of its stream bed and drainage basin lie in
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38 the Mexican state of Baja California (Figure 2-10~. The river has been used for disposal of raw sewage since the 1920s, and rapid population growth in the Tijuana area after World War II led to the quarantine of Imperial Beach (San Diego County) in 1959. The quarantine was lifted in 1962 after Tijuana completed its sewage system, but was reimposed in 1965 as the system failed repeatedly. As a stop-gap, an emergency pipeline was constructed to carry up to 13 million gaVday of sewage to the San Diego metropolitan system. By 1980, this pipeline was continuously at full capacity. Because of population pressures on both sides of the border, the pipeline agreement is currently being renewed on a year-to-year basis. By the early 1980s, overflows, leakage, and failures at the Playas de Tijuana Treatment Plant and at other points in the sewer system led to multiple discharges of raw sewage (Figure 2-lO)(Hickey, 1986), including the discharge of 1 million gaVday of raw sewage directly to the ocean less than 1 mile south of the Mexican border. In addition, raw sewage from some of the approximately 50 percent of Tijuana's population that is not sewered flows down open channels into the Tijuana River drainage. As a result, Border Field State Park and beaches as far north as Imperial Beach have remained under quarantine. The regional contamination resulting from uncontrolled sewage flows from Tijuana provides a clear example of how environmental problems can cross regulatory and legal boundaries. As a result, in 1980 the San Diego County Department of Health Services, in cooperation with the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board and the U.S. State Department's International Boundary Commission, an agency formed by the U.S. and Mexican governments to deal with trans-border issues, implemented a mon- itoring program to determine the influence of Mexican sewage discharge on beaches in the border zone. Local Environmental Problems Many environmental problems in the bight are local; they are restricted to an area or time surrounding a specific identifiable disturbance or con- tamination source. Because they are easier to identify and monitor, these localized impacts are more completely understood than bightwide impacts. Localized impacts include: · changes in benthic infauna around wastewater outfalls; · changes in the makeup of fish communities around wastewater outfalls resulting from alterations in their food supply; · contamination of sediments and biota in the immediate vicinity of wastewater outfalls;
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39 0.850 0.756 C) c,' 0.472 LIZ z o 0.283 0.189 A< _ 1 1 1 ..~ ,~ oooo L 1920 1930 1940 1950 _~" 1960 1970 1980 YEAR 100 in z He o 80 60 40 20 0.380 0.285 cn LLJ A 0.190 An o ; ~ J ! ~ , ·.j o 1920 1930 1940 1950 YEAR . i,\\ A ~ i. 1960 1970 1980 -~-~. .-. I ~ 0.095 _ 0.000 1 14 1920 'v''~''\.~ ,1m [.~: -, \~- ~. · ~ - 1930 1940 1950 YEAR 1960 1970 1980 FIGURE 2-9 Total ~ ), nonpoint (-.-), and point source (...) estimated yearly input of DDT to the Southern California Bight from (a) Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, (b) Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties, and (c) San Diego County. SOURCE: Summers et al., 1987.
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40 IMPERIAL BEACH Stewart's Drain Canyon de Sol \ I Smugglers Gulch \ ~ | Tijuana River ~\~ \ Goat Canyon Silva's Drain ) ~ Playas de Tijuana PACIFIC OCEAN \ EXISTING SEWER \ SYSTEM DISCHARGE - FIGURE 2-10 Locations where raw or partially treated sewage enters U.S. territory from Baja California, Mexico. SOURCE: Hickey, 1986. · potential effects on kelp beds from the White Point and Point Loma wastewater outfalls and SONGS; · effects on fish communities from heated power plant effluent; contamination of nearshore water in the immediate vicinity of storm drains; and · impacts on benthic communities from disposal of dredged material; · impacts on plankton populations resulting from SONGS' effects on nearshore circulation patterns. SUMMARY The sources of pollution in the Southern California Bight are quite varied and typical of those found in any highly urbanized coastal area of the United States, except that there are no major riverine inputs. Some of these sources are among the largest (sewage treatment plants) or most extensive (oil production) of their type found anywhere. The range of
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41 contaminants discharged is broad, and in some cases the volumes have been among the largest found in the country (for example, the historic DDT discharges through the Los Angeles County sewage treatment plant). In recent years, as a result of control strategies or changed production practices, the amounts of many contaminants discharged have declined dramatically. These reductions have resulted in decreased concentrations in the marine environment. This great variety in sources and types of pollutants poses a formidable challenge~for society as it seeks to impose appropriate controls on discharges to the marine environment. The statutory and regulatory system responsible for achieving these reductions is discussed in Chapter 3. In addition, the complexity of sources and pollutants has resulted in a set of intensive monitoring programs in the Southern California Bight, which are discussed in detail in Chapter 4.
Representative terms from entire chapter: