Hilary washes trash into Huntington Harbor, creating unsafe conditions for residents, wildlife

Thursday, August 24, 2023
Hilary rain water washes trash into Huntington Harbor
The cleanup from Hilary is intensifying out at sea. All that rain water has washed a significant amount of trash and other debris into Huntington Harbor, creating unsafe conditions for boaters, swimmers and local wildlife.

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Huntington Beach resident Lisa Burford found trash, debris and large items in the Huntington Harbor after Tropical Storm Hilary sent several inches of rain through the drainage system.

"It washed streets and it washed the gutters," Burford said, a boat owner. "We have storm drains all over and drainage channels, and I know that they do have filters on some of them, but basically it all washes right to the ocean."

After heavy rain storms like this winter and Hilary, the Anaheim drainage channel dumps into Huntington Harbor and brings all the trash from storm drains into the marina.

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"I searched online and I tried to contact the Orange County department of beaches and the city of Huntington Beach, and I could not find any site where I could let them know about this debris and see what we can do to clean it up," said Burford.

The trash in the marina affects boaters, businesses like ferries and fisherman and creates an unsafe habitat for the natural wildlife. It might be weeks before boaters can safely leave the marina again.

"It does affect us being able to use our boats," said Steve Rigdon, a boat owner in the Huntington Harbor. "We also get damage from the boats sometimes, because as she said, large items like logs, they'll bang up against our boats."

Burford and other boaters are contacting the city for help in cleaning up the marina.

"Of course the marina, they're very proactive, but they have to request it through the county. That's where the delay is," said Rigdon. "I can tell you, I'm hoping this gets cleaned up soon. In the storms in February, it took months before we got it."

Boaters say the best way to keep the marina clean is to not let trash go into the storm drain in the first place.