The Lompoc City Council will consider declaring an emergency for the Santa Ynez Riverbed Tuesday, as the cleanup continues in the area.
The city says the riverbed is littered with trash. Police cleared homeless people out of the area over the summer. Cleaning crews were sent in to clear out structures, needles, and other waste in the riverbed. The city says that cleanup cost $98,000. The next phase of the cleanup will cost $500,000, according to city leaders.
The city plans to hire a contractor to pull out hundreds of tons of trash in the riverbed. City leaders say there is wood, bicycle parts, truck tires, and plastics. They say it could take two months to clean the riverbed.
Right now the city is using the water fund’s reserve to pay for the cleanup, but on Tuesday, the city council will consider an emergency declaration.
“There could be issues if we had a very large El Nino rain coming through. The individuals living there at that time have dug into the bank, and if that water flows quickly enough, there could be issues. So why wait for it to have an emergency. Fix it first is what we are looking at,” said Jim Throop, the Lompoc City Manager.
The city says the riverbed feeds into the Lompoc Aquifer and flows into the ocean, so it’s critical to keep the riverbed clear of pollutants.