The red numbers say it all in the latest Surfrider report on the Nye Beach Outfall pollution count. The number is high enough you don’t EVEN want your dog to take a drink from it there in front of the sea wall, much less let your kids play in it.
Newport Public Works Director Tim Gross says the first rain of the “wet season,” like we just had, always flushes out the accumulated toxins which includes human, pet and wildlife wastes that make their way in to the storm drain system. Gross says it happens every year about this time. He says every broken pipe, every cross-connect and other damage done to the storm and regular sewer lines (like illegal R/V dumps into storm drains) contributes to the problem. He has said repeatedly in the past that the city has a very aggressive program to fix more and more of the deficiencies, but it takes tall dollars and a lot of time to get it done. But they’re working on it.
In the meantime it’s never a good idea to let your kids or your dogs play in the water that flows from the Nye Beach turn-around seawall to the ocean. Gross says pollution levels in the creek can vary wildly from day to day – even hour to hour. So you never know whether it’s polluted or not. Surfrider’s testing is just a point in time – it’s not a running report card with any more accuracy than the sample taken at a particular time. An hour later it can be relatively clean – or WORSE. You just don’t know. By the way, the only time city public works puts out warning signs is if there is an actual sewer system malfunction – like an overflow – due to heavy rain infiltration of sewer flows.
So when you go to the beach with any storm drain water crossing the sand…hang a right or a left and walk a football field’s length either way to enjoy your day at the beach.