Caltrans Apparently Releases Nasty Birdpoop Water Into Surf, County Investigating Possible Danger Of Illness At Tower 16

Written by on June 3, 2022

A construction crew working for Caltrans has apparently used a bulldozer to cut through the beach sand to drain the Trancas Creek Lagoon.

A stream of water … likely contaminated with bird droppings and other biological contamination … was released into the ocean.

County Beaches and harbors officials say they were not nofified about the discharge … which could affect the health of people in the ocean there. 

Public health officials are going to arrive at the beach today to measure the water for naturally occurring bacteria and virus.

Coastal lagoons ,,, with shallow bottoms and a large number of birds … frequently are a putrid stew of organisms that can make people sick.

What one might call a giant peach tree dish.

The construction workers apparently drained the lagoon to get water away from the construction site where the bridge is being widened.

A 7 foot wide channel… 4 feet deep… was cut into the sand that separates the lagoon from the ocean. Water was observed draining out of it by KBUU listener… Jeremy Walker… early in the morning yesterday. 

County beaches officials say that they are not aware if Caltrans had a permit for the dewatering of the lagoon. 

Caltrans officials tell KBUU news they are looking into what happened… but they stress the state has a statewide federal permit to discharge water into the ocean.

We have asked if that permit includes sending water from a contaminated lagoon into an ocean that is open for swimming and surfing.  Or if that is just a general permit for rainwater. 

Caltrans may need a permit from the State Water Board for a dewatering project… and it’s not clear if it pulled permits for this one.

County beaches officials say they were not notified… nor was the county Department of Public Health.

Typically … when a lagoon breaches at Zuma Beach like this … the county bans swimming near it. 

It’s unknown how much water drained into the ocean… but the lagoon is significantly smaller now and a foot lower in elevation than it was two days ago.

By draining the lagoon… the water level dropped.  Water is no longer covering the area under the bridge. 

Caltrans crews are supposed to start demolishing the north half of the bridge today… part of a replacement project to rebuild the 95-year-old structure.

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