Purple water in San Diego?


HMN-Purple water near San Diego had responders out in full force this weekend.

San Diego Union Tribune

A resident’s report about a creek in Westwood flowing with bright purple water on Sunday afternoon led to a response by several city departments in order to investigate and clean it up.

City of San Diego spokesman Anthony Santacroce said the water was emanating from a storm water outfall into a creek bed behind properties in the 11300 block of Matinal Circle in Rancho Bernardo. City staff quickly responded to a call placed by residents to investigate.

“Due to the seriousness of this unknown substance in the environment, San Diego Fire-Rescue, Hazmat and County Fish and Game were also called to the scene,” Santacroce said.

With the use of technology, field staff were able to backtrack from the outfall to pinpoint the discharge origination in a storm water drain in a nearby street and the path it traveled, he said.

“Once that was determined, approximately 500 feet of pipe was cleaned and flushed with the aid of two vactor trucks,” Santacroce said. So the contaminated water during the flushing process would not eventually flow into Lake Hodges — a source of drinking water — it was vacuumed up during the cleaning process.

“Plans for clean-up of the creek bed and a code enforcement investigation into the cause of the discharge are currently underway and a conclusive report on the source and substance of the discharge, including what enforcement action will be levied is still forthcoming,” Santacroce said on Tuesday.

The purple substance appears to be paint or dye, but a definite identification has yet to be made and the water is being tested, he added.

Santacroce said residents have several ways to report storm water pollution. They can email swppp@sandiego.gov, call the Storm Water Pollution Hotline at 619-235-1000 or use the city’s Get It Done app.

“If you notice a violation actively occurring during business hours, calling the hotline will ensure the issue (is) addressed in the quickest way possible,” he said.

Santacroce added that dumping hazardous substances in storm drains and the environment is illegal, and the city holds multiple events throughout the year for free disposal. The city’s Household Hazardous Waste Transfer Facility also accepts items at no charge. Go to sandiego.gov/environmental-services for details.

“There is no excuse for illegal dumping in our storm drains or environment,” he said.


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