The Santa Barbara Channelkeeper issued a mandate to the city of Santa Barbara, insisting that the city’s waste processing system cease leaking sewage and comply with the federal government’s Clean Water Act.

The organization delivered a notice demanding that the city follow federal guidelines within 60 days or face litigation. According to the Channelkeeper, the city has the highest spillage rate of 20 comparable communities along the central coast.

Santa Barbara Channelkeeper’s Executive Director Kira Redmond said the group is seeking preventive measures before the city’s mismanaged sewage requires more extensive cleanup.

“We want to make sure the city invests those resources before the problem can get any worse,” Redmond said. “If the city does not come within compliance within 60 days, we have the option of filing a lawsuit.”

Channelkeeper has monitored local beaches and waterways for the last 10 years.

“Channelkeeper has been aware for several years … that Santa Barbara has a very high rate of sewage spills compared to other cities,” Redmond said. “We organized … for several years to get the city to address the problem but have not seen a comprehensive response, which is why we are resorting to legal action.”

– Staff Report