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Rains bring sewage to beaches in California

January 04 2011 | Blue Water Task Force, Water Quality,
by Mara Dias

Heavy rains in Southern California caused havoc at the end of 2010. Many cities saw their wastewater infrastructure become overwhelmed by the high volumes of water and fail, discharging raw sewage and polluted run-off at area beaches. Our own, Rick Wilson, speaks about the issue on Southern California Public Radio. Download audio here.

The Surfrider Foundation supported a House bill last year that would have provided an independent funding source to fix our nation's water infrastructure problems and help prevent beach pollution. Learn more at the Know Your H2O blog.




When it rains in SoCal, is it a given that our beaches are awash in sewage?

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It happens so regularly during the winter months that it’s largely accepted as standard practice: when it rains, Southern California’s beaches are inundated with raw sewage and other toxic runoff from an inundated sewer system that cannot handle large volumes of water. After one of the wettest Decembers on record, beaches in San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles and Ventura counties have been closed to the public for weeks because of repeated sewage spills and, with more rain on the way before the new year, beaches won’t be suitable for people anytime soon. Are the sewage systems in the area so antiquated and the region in general so ill prepared for big storms, that raw sewage on our beaches is just an accepted part of doing business in Southern California? How bad is the problem and what kind of resources would it take to update our storm runoff capabilities?

Guest:

Rick Wilson, coastal management coordinator for the Surfriders Foundation


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