confrontational tactic, said Alan Silcock, president of the West Newport
Beach Assn., which represents area homeowners.
But Silcock says he wanted to make it clear to residents and to the
city that people are paying attention to the problems of pollution in
"What caused me to write the letter that about 30-some-odd people over
the last months have been talking to me about, 'What is the association
doing? What is the city doing?"' to deal with the water, Silcock said.
The focal point for residents' concern is the Channel Place park at
43rd Street and Balboa Boulevard. That park, which is just out of the
hustle of Coast Highway, features a broad lawn, a playground for
children, and a small, sandy beach.
It also features a number of posted warnings about water pollution.
The county of Orange has a sign posted on a wall near the beach noting
bacteria levels in the area exceed state standards.
Another sign, also from the county, notes runoff from storms may
exacerbate the problem because several storm drains empty directly into
the the relatively motionless water.
The Harbor Quality Citizens Advisory Committee of Newport Beach has
posted its own sign at the beach noting that feeding ducks and sea gulls
is not a particularly good idea because "each duck dropping (gulls too)
may contribute millions of bacteria to the water."
Dave Kiff, Newport's deputy city manager, wrote back to the
association with his suggestions for dealing with the situation.
"There are not a lot of answers," he said this week. "I wish there
The association's letter asked about the possibility of diverting
urban runoff from nearby storm drains into the sewer system, arguing the
situation "demands [the city's] prompt attention."
But there are several difficulties with the area from a water quality
point of view, Kiff said. Because it is located in the remotest corner of
Newport Harbor, the tidal flushing action the beach receives is fairly
But at the same time, the ebb and flow of the tides means diverting
storm water flow into the county sewer system, as has been tried at other
sites in Newport, is not an option. Kiff said such an approach could
conceivably see large quantities of bay water pushed by the tide into the
What can be done instead, he said, is to emphasize the use of "catch
basins" on Balboa Boulevard and Coast Highway so water running off the
street can be filtered to some degree before being dumped in the bay.
"Filters and education, I think, are the best answers," Kiff said.
Both sides say they're encouraged rather than frustrated by the
"They've been effective with me in sharing how strong their concerns
are for that area," Kiff said. "I don't think I realized that before."