San Diego storm drains on notice

State aims to eliminate trash that flows to the ocean

San Diego storm drain
  • San Diego storm drain

Water-quality advocates are applauding a statewide policy announced Tuesday (April 7) that aims to entirely eliminate trash from the state's water systems and coast over the next ten years.

Municipalities have two routes to select in implementing the plan, with the preferred option being to "install, operate, and maintain full [trash] capture systems in storm drains" in industrial, commercial, and high-density residential areas.

Under the regulation, cities would also be able to deploy a combination of solutions, including the storm-drain filters, increased street sweeping, consumer education programs, or the enactment of local laws targeting litter sources. Going this route would require the production of monitoring reports to prove a net effect equal to the storm-drain trash-capture system.

"San Diego is currently the largest coastal city in the state without specific trash removal requirements in place," said Matt O’Malley with San Diego Coastkeeper in a release, noting that San Francisco and Los Angeles, whose trash-capture system the new rules are based on, have already begun to address their trash problems.

Last year Coastkeeper, in conjunction with the local Surfrider Foundation chapter, organized beach cleanups that resulted in the recovery of over 200,000 pieces of trash. That equates to just 10,500 pounds of garbage collected, as compared to annual trash reduction of up to a million pounds in Los Angeles using the storm-water collection solution.

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Street sweeping? What's that? I haven't seen a street sweeper for YEARS and the last time it was in my near-the-beach neighborhood, there wasn't a single no parking sign to keep the filthy gutters and curbsides exposed for cleaning.

At a recent community meeting, the City Councilmember for the area said there is no regular street sweeping in San Diego anymore. One needs to call downtown and get on a list.

Crumbling curbs, grubby gutters, cratered streets, broken sidewalks, out-of-service street lights. Sunny Mayor Faulconer needs to get busy: San Diego is a shambles.

I sometimes see them on my street in North Park. But yes, lots of broken sidewalks here, too.

La Mesa has a contract street sweeper and many sweeping days no parking area. The only problem is that the street sweeper does not sweep on those days so all it is is a revenue enhancement program.

All a trash capture system will do is block storm drains and cause flooding which the city will be responsible for. Even if maintained in a heavy downpour they will become blocked with debris.

Maybe the capture system will catch all of those ad inserts that the UT pays to have thrown on the street. They all end up going down the storm drains.

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