Thanks to a reader for passing along this interesting story that ran late last month in the Orange County Register.

Officials there are coping with the effects of urban runoff – a familiar story here in San Diego, where sewage-tainted runoff from Tijuana has closed some three miles of coastline, from the border north to Imperial Beach.

In Orange County, the city of Newport Beach is spending $300,000 to curb polluting runoff near the city’s harbor. Register reporter Jeff Overley says:

There’s a bright blue, cloudless sky, but on the side of Newport Boulevard, water is coming down in buckets.

It’s here, in a wedge of land the size of a football field, that water hosed onto walkways and thirsty lawns comes together, hits a storm drain and makes a beeline for Newport Harbor.

“It hasn’t rained in 150 days, but we’ve got 30,000 gallons of water washing down” every day, said John Kappeler, a Newport Beach water quality specialist.

If it were just the water, no problem. But every drop carries a laundry list of pesticides and fertilizers, grime that can feed bacterial growth once it hits the harbor.

So, at the behest of state environmental officials, the city is building a “bioswale,” a natural filtration system composed of sand and gravel that absorbs pollutants and filter debris.

We’ve written about a similar project that is being constructed in Tijuana. There, pervious pavers are replacing asphalt in one neighborhood. Pervious pavers – unlike impervious asphalt – allow storm runoff to soak in the ground and can help replenish groundwater aquifers. Some background on that is here.


Leave a comment

We expect all commenters to be constructive and civil. We reserve the right to delete comments without explanation. You are welcome to flag comments to us. You are welcome to submit an opinion piece for our editors to review.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.