Sediment being cleared following the 1/9 Debris Flow in Montecito is no longer being deposited at Goleta Beach County Park and Carpinteria Beach, but ocean waters at those locations remain closed to the public for health reasons, Santa Barbara County officials said Monday.

The disposal site on Carpinteria Beach at Ash Avenue closed Feb. 9, and the site on Goleta Beach closed Feb. 20.

Hydraulic dredging will begin in about two weeks in the Carpinteria Salt Marsh, where sediment will be pumped via pipeline to the surf line at the mouth of the marsh, and must be completed by April 15 under terms of a permit issued by the Army Corps of Engineers.

The dredging was approved by the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, the California Coastal Commission and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

County Public Health Department personnel will continue to test for bacteria in the ocean near the discharge sites twice a week and will reopen the ocean waters to public use when bacteria levels fall to acceptable levels, a county spokesman said.

Current and historical ocean water testing results are available at www.readysbc.org.

Since the 1/9 Debris Flow, one of the county’s primary health and safety priorities has been clearing debris basins, creeks and roads of material quickly to prepare for future storms and help the community recover.

“We are highly concerned about future storms that could cause debris flows similar to the 1/9 event, requiring additional debris removal efforts,” said Scott McGolpin, the county’s director of Public Works.

Officials said most of the debris on public lands has now been cleared, with more than 18,000 truckloads of mud, sediment, boulders, rocks, trees and trash removed from Montecito and Carpinteria.

About 12 percent of that, consisting primarily of sediment, was trucked to the two federal- and state-permitted beach disposal sites, and the remaining materials were trucked to various public and private disposal sites.

Material deposited in the ocean was presorted to remove large rocks, trash and vegetation, and sediment placed at the two beaches was tested by an independent laboratory and met all Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board guidelines, officials said.

However, due to high bacteria levels, ocean waters at Goleta Beach and Carpinteria Beach at Ash Avenue have been closed since Jan. 11.

McGolpin said county officials will continue searching for debris and sediment disposal sites and methods that balance the needs and desires of all those affected

This report was compiled by News Editor Mike Hodgson. He can be reached at mhodgson@leecentralcoastnews.com.

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News Editor

Mike Hodgson is news editor at the Santa Ynez Valley News, where he writes about local government, special events and the people who live in the Valley. He has been a photographer, writer, news editor and managing editor at weekly newspapers since 1972

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