After some delay, the Santa Barbara County Water Agency and the UCSB Shoreline Preservation Fund (SPF) will install three storm drains on Del Playa Drive in an effort to prevent ocean pollution.
Three continuous deflective separation (CDS) units will be installed where DP meets Camino Pescadero, Camino Del Sur, and Escondido path. Construction of the drains will begin the week of April 5. Cathleen Garnand, a civil engineer at the Santa Barbara County Water agency, said construction of the CDS units is estimated to take three to four weeks and is projected to finish by the beginning of May.
The Santa Barbara Public Works Dept. originally planned to install the drains over Winter Break, but the project was put on hold because of concern that Gov. Schwarzenegger would make cuts to grant money for the project in his budget reforms.
CDS units are specially designed to collect trash and consist of concrete cylinders with an outer and inner chamber separated by a steel screen filter. Runoff water from the street is directed to the ocean and travels through the screen, leaving behind trash and dirt.
“So basically any drop of water in Isla Vista will travel through these drains and be treated by the CDS units before it goes into the ocean,” Garnand said. “The CDS units look like a salad spinner in a way.”
Garnand said CDS units are efficient at preventing trash from draining into the ocean and are able to collect any object larger than five millimeters. The units are expected to collect common DP trash such as cups, beer cans and even cigarette butts.
During construction there will be no parking on DP near these three sites, Garnand said. Contractors will post signs and distribute fliers to DP residents in the affected areas to notify them that parking will be limited. Cars in the no-parking zones will be towed.
“From my experience, parking in I.V. is tight,” Garnand said. “It is important for people who don’t live on DP but who park there to move their car during the construction.”
Some DP residents are unhappy about the parking problems the construction project will create for the already crowded street, but sophomore law & society major Steve Quick said he thinks it is a small price to pay for cleaner beaches.
“I’ve been a surfer for nine or 10 years and I’ve been worried about the condition of the ocean,” Quick said. “Even if the parking is bad for a little while, we should all just suck it up. It’s worth it to have a cleaner beach.”
Each CDS unit is engineered to hold 900 gallons of waste. The units will be cleaned at least once a year by a special vacuum truck that can suck up both trash and water.
Garnand said the success of a CDS unit installed on DP and El Embarcadero in January 2003 has prompted the construction of the additional three drains. The unit was emptied in November 2003 and had collected 3.3 tons of trash during the 11-month period.
Many CDS units have already been installed throughout California, Garnand said, with thousands currently operating in Los Angeles County where pollution levels are higher. In Santa Barbara County there are currently eight units.
“It was decided to install the units in I.V. because its beach receives whatever runs off from the street,” Garnand said. “We did it because of the nature of I.V.”
Garnand said the entire project is expected to cost approximately $300,000. The UCSB Shoreline Preservation Fund donated $80,000 to partially fund the project. The rest is to be funded by the state.
UCSB students pay a $3 per-student per-quarter lock-in fee to support the Shoreline Preservation Fund, which was established in 1999. According to the Shoreline Preservation Fund, it has already allocated $558,000 to 123 local projects.
Garnand said the CDS units help to keep trash from reaching the beach, but will not stop shoreline pollution completely.
“The most important thing is to keep the trash from getting into the ocean in the first place,” she said.