Supervisor Pam Slater takes the lead on solutions to polluted runoff

Supports numeric sizing criteria

provided by S.T.O.P. (Surfers Tired of Pollution)

he environmental community today applauded San Diego County Supervisor Pam Slater for her support of numeric sizing criteria to reduce water quality problems associated with polluted urban runoff. Supervisor Slater has issued a Board Letter, to be voted on October 11, 2000 by the Board of Supervisors, resolving that, "The Board of Supervisors on behalf of the citizens of the County of San Diego, support the concept of numeric sizing criteria for significant new and redevelopment projects."

"Water pollution is an acute concern in San Diego County where the region's populated areas discharge pollutants into San Diego Bay, Mission Bay, Los Peñasquitos Lagoon, San Elijo Lagoon, San Dieguito Lagoon, Buena Vista Lagoon and the Pacific Ocean," Slater said. "The health and safety of the public and our marine life alike is threatened."

"Pam Slater continues to be a leader on clean water issues," said Donna Frye, foun-der of S.T.O.P. "She was responsible for getting warning signs posted on the beach to alert beach-goers to the health risks associated with polluted runoff, helped us establish the Ocean Illness Survey and implemented and secured funding for the DNA study to determine the sources of bacteria from polluted runoff."

Polluted runoff is one of the leading causes of beach closures in San Diego. According to a report issued March 8, 2000 by the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board, "The major water quality impacts from urbanization and new development are increased pollutant load and increased flow. Both are the direct result of converting pervious surfaces to impervious surfaces."

During the urbanization process, natural pervious ground cover (soil and vegetation which effectively absorb runoff and remove pollutants) is converted to impervious surfaces (such as concrete storm drains, asphalt freeways, parking lots and rooftops) which dominate urbanized areas and can neither absorb runoff nor remove pollutants from runoff.

Numeric sizing criteria would ensure that the best management practices (BMPs) for specific pollutants would be effective and ensure that the adverse water quality impacts of development are addressed as early in the project planning stages as possible. The adoption of numeric sizing criteria also will help reduce pollutants and flow from new development and redevelopment and help achieve maximum pollution reduction for every dollar invested. Numeric sizing criteria are critical to ensure that the right size and right type of BMP is included in significant projects in the future.

The inclusion of numeric sizing criteria in the upcoming Municipal Stormwater Permit for San Diego also is supported by the Environmental Health Coalition, San Diego BayKeeper, Center for Marine Conservation, the San Diego Audubon Society, San Diego County Surfrider Foundation, San Diego County Chapter of the Sierra Club, and Surfers Tired of Pollution.

"Pollution is an environmental, as well as an economic issue," Slater said. "Clean water is important to public health and the survival of marine life, but with the popularity of our beaches and waterways, tourism is greatly affected by beach closures."

Contact: Donna Frye, (619) 688-9886; 1161 Cushman Avenue, Suite A, San Diego, CA 92110.