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Clogged catch basins cause problems

Posted: April 2, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 2, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Removing leaves and debris that collect in county catch basins, such as one seen here, is expected to cost $240,000 this summer.

County supervisors have voted to spend up to $240,000 to clean out some 10,000 catch basins this summer, including those  along the dry Santa Clara River watershed.

“Storm water pollution is a major concern for our department,” said Kerjon Lee, spokesman for the county Department of Public Works, which recommended the project to supervisors.

The enemy for public works officials are homeowners who insist on washing their cars on the street outside their homes, Lee said.

“Water collects in the gutters, bringing with it leaves and grass and trash,” Lee said. “These all end up in our floor control system and potentially causes contamination.”

To make sure the catch basins remain clear and clean and the flood control system remains uncompromised, the county awards annual contracts to firms prepared to clean up the mess.

This year’s contract will cover maintenance costs of $155,000 to $180,000.

The county is expected to start receiving bids for the summer project next month.

In 55 days between June and August, the selected contract bidder is expected to clean 10,600 catch basins along the Santa Clara River Watershed from south of Palmdale to the Ventura County line.

Catch basins are receptacles typically installed at the entrance to a storm drain to quickly remove stormwater from the streets of cities and communities to avoid flooding.

Typically seen under the lip of sidewalks, the basins collect surface water, runoff and rainwater.

Many have screens to protect the storm drain system, rivers, lakes and the ocean from trash and other pollutants.

During the summer, retractable screens over the mouth of catch basins remain closed.

Part of the summer cleanup will require workers to remove debris stopped at the grid, Lee said.

“When the project is completed, it will have a positive impact by providing cleaner catch basins and waterways,” Public Works

Director Gail Farber told supervisors in her letter recommending the project.


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