San Diego reaches agreement with nonprofits to improve stormwater infrastructure

Posted at 4:09 PM, Nov 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-26 19:09:28-05

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The city of San Diego has reached an agreement with two local nonprofit organizations to improve its stormwater infrastructure and local water quality, it was announced today.

Under the agreement, the city pledged to improve its stormwater management sites at the Miramar Landfill, Metro Biosolids Center, North City Reclamation Plant, Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant and South Bay Water Reclamation Plant. San Diego Coastkeeper and the Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation will concurrently contribute $35,000 to the San Diego Audubon Society to be used for water quality improvement and habitat conservation in Mission Bay.

The city's Transportation and Storm Water Department, which oversees the Storm Water Division, declined to comment on the agreement, which was approved by a federal judge last Tuesday. City officials expect to finish the upgrades by the end of 2023, according to the two nonprofits involved in the agreement.

"We have a longstanding working relationship with the city's stormwater and public utilities departments, so we were confident they would take our concerns seriously and allow us to achieve environmental benefits without having to engage in expensive litigation," said CERF Executive Director Marco Gonzalez.

The nonprofits began working with the city on upgrading stormwater treatment infrastructure in early 2017, when Coastkeeper and CERF noted that city-owned water treatment sites were disposing stormwater with toxic pollutants, bacteria from human waste, dissolved metals and other hazardous materials into local bodies of water.

The two organizations specified that Rose Creek, San Clemente Creek, Mission Bay, Tijuana River and the Pacific Ocean were likely affected.

A report released by the city auditor's office in June found that the city's Storm Water Division had a large backlog of planned infrastructure projects and failed to properly keep up with the backlog due to, among other things, a lack of funding.