Sediment deposit at Goleta Beach
SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. – As crews continue clearing roadways from mud and debris related to Tuesday’s mudslide in the Montecito area, they have faced some community criticism for transporting that mud and debris to local beaches.
Santa Barbara County officials say the sediment consists of wet or dry dirt or mud and does not contain rocks, debris, or vegetation.
“The Santa Barbara County Flood Control District obtained emergency permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, California Regional Water Quality Control Board, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the California Coastal Commission to place sediment on local beaches,” said county officials.
The permits allow crews to transport up to 300,000 cubic yards of sediment to be placed into the surf zone, the area of the beach where the weaves are breaking, at Goleta Beach and Carpinteria Beach at the end of Ash Avenue.
To date, approximately 800 cubic yards has been taken to Goleta Beach and 900 cubic yards to the Carpinteria Salt Marsh.
“I got in some good surf today even though the water was closed,” says Tommy Lang, a local surfer and fisherman, who watched crews dump mud on Goleta Beach. Despite the precautions, he says he would rather not see dumping on the beach. “Why put it in the ocean in the first place? I feel like we have landfills, so why put it in the ocean?”
“Sediment transported to Carpinteria Beach is mainly coming from Franklin Creek and Santa Monica Creek within Carpinteria Salt Marsh,” stated a news release by the Santa Barbara County Joint Information Center. “The amount of sediment transported to the beaches is of less quantity than the level of sediment that naturally flows through the drainage system during a rainfall event.”
Flood Control personnel are at each site inspecting each load that is delivered. Officials say any load that contains unpermitted material will be refused and occasional rocks and other materials are hand-picked and set aside for later disposal.
Additional sites such as the County Foothill Landfill are being used for debris removal and officials say more sites out of the County will be opening up for use.
Sediment clean-up will continue restoring the area to pre-storm conditions as quickly as possible but without these efforts, officials say, the next round of storms may cause more destruction.
County officials also want the community to know that they take this activity seriously and this “extraordinarily horrific incident has required County personnel to work under emergency permits.” They assure the public that the appropriate precautions are being taken.
Both Goleta and Carpinteria beaches have been used in the past for routine and emergency sediment deposits.