Pair of Central Coast beaches get millions in upgrades to address water pollution

Jul 6, 2016

Two Santa Barbara County beaches are among three statewide that are getting a shared $10 million in upgrades to address unhealthy water quality. 

El Capitán and Carpinteria State Beaches will share the money with Doheny State Beach in Orange County. It comes from bond money approved by voters nearly a decade ago.

Joe Karkowski is with the Water Resources Control Board and says the state was trying to be as efficient as possible when deciding where to spend the money.

"We had already gone through several different rounds of solicitations and we weren't getting enough projects to expend all of these funds, so we were looking at other ways of making sure the money was spent wisely and to the purpose for which the people voted," said Karkowski.

Pat Leary is the program manager for the Clean Beaches Initiative Grant Program within the Water Board. She says at the El Capitán State Beach Campground, the leach field used to treat sewage waste isn't properly working, allowing some of that sewage to surface, which can then get washed down into the ocean.

The new system will be far more advanced.

"It would be properly sized, it would operate well, it would meet limitation—it may even allow for some reuse of the effluent by the time they finish it," said Leary.

The issues at Carpinteria State Beach include some aging RV hookups and sewage pipes in the campground.