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Beauty and the beach

March 11, 2005

Lindsay Sandham

This year's winter rain storms did a great job of dirtying the beach

and leaving debris all over it.

Beachgoers may have noticed a Newport Beach city cleaning crew

working hard every day to clean up the mess.

"We've been working on it, just about on a daily basis, since Dec.

27," said Tom Anderson, beach maintenance supervisor for Newport

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Beach. "By the time we finish sometime next week, we'll have 3,000

tons of material."

The crew, which usually consists of 10 to 15 people, has been

making piles of sticks and other debris and trucking it to various

dump sites. Many of the workers clean the beach by hand, with large

machines to take care of the big stuff.

Anderson, who has worked for the city for 30 years, said much of

the debris is from the Santa Ana River and Prado Dam in Riverside

County, which was opened during January's torrential rains.

"It [the debris] is from the original rains; add the Del Prado

water on top of it.... It cleans out all the catch basins and

everything," Anderson said.

Once the debris from the winter storms is cleared away, Anderson's

crew will go back to daily maintenance of the beaches.

"We're pretty much done now. This is just the little stuff that's

stuck between the rocks and the jetties," Anderson said. "We've got

to remove all the sticks, so it's a safe environment for the kids to

walk and play in -- we don't want anyone to get hurt.

"You can clean an area, and it will be fine for a couple of days.

Then a different swell will come in and bring in all kinds of new

stuff."

Local surfers have seen the crew working the beaches, and most

have noticed a difference since the big rain storms.

"After the rains, that was a massive clean-up job," said Allen

Passaquindici of Huntington Beach, who surfs in Newport about once a

week. "They've done a good job."

Pooch McLain, a Costa Mesa surfer who calls Newport Beach his

"second home away from home," said the cleaning crews have done an

amazing job and have been working really hard.

"Anytime the debris comes in, they get right on it," he said. "I'm

a surfer, and they clean it out so I can walk across the sand."

Newport Beach's Ron Young said that compared to a lot of other

beaches, Newport is very clean.

"They're excellent," he said of the maintenance crew.

Newport Beach made a list of the top 10 cleanest beaches in

California, Anderson said.

"We have people that come to us from all over the world that have

heard about Newport Beach," he said. "We want to show them what it's

like here all the time."

Anderson grew up on 27th Street, by Newport Beach, and has lived

in the area his entire life.

"I started out hand-sweeping the streets and just worked my way

up," he said. "Most of the guys [in the crew] live around here and

use the beach.... They take a lot of pride in their work. This is

kind of like taking care of your yard, because we're here

everyday.... That's how I look at it anyways."

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