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Santa Maria business park employees concerned over trash, sewage left by homeless

Posted at 5:54 PM, Nov 01, 2018

Employees of a Santa Maria business park say homeless people are throwing trash and sewage into canals around their workplace and they’re concerned about safety.

For people like Joseph Perry, the trash around the Gateway Business Plaza is more than just an eyesore.

“Sometimes I’ve come out and seen used condoms out there, broken bottles, I haven’t really seen too many needles or anything – but there’s a lot of trash,” Perry said.

Perry says he finds people sleeping outside and even dumping their bodily waste in the canals off Preisker Lane and Roemer Place.

He says it’s now becoming a health and safety issue and he’s frustrated.

“I don’t come into your backyard and throw trash everywhere. I don’t come into your work and sit on your doorstep, drinking my coffee because I’m tired and that’s where I want to sit. I go do it in my car, in my house, or wherever it is I’m supposed to be doing that because again, if you live in America, you agree to follow rules,” Perry said.

The Santa Maria Police Department says handling calls about the homeless in these areas is becoming a growing concern.

“It’s been an issue that’s branched out to other thefts especially to the hotels that are in the area. We’ve moved some of the blue light cameras into those areas to be able to watch and monitor those areas and see that those problems don’t overlap,” said Lt. Russ Mengel, Santa Maria Police Department.

The department has a community services unit that patrols the area and tries to make safety improvements where they can.

“It’s a constant issue. It’s one that we do try to stay on top of but with limited resources, it’s not something we’re able to get today in and day out,” Lt. Mengel said.

We’re told last year, there was a major clean up of these canals that cost over $15,000 to complete.

If you have any complaints like these, you’re asked to contact the police department’s beat coordinator.

KSBY reached out to the Santa Barbara County Flood Control District about this issue. They tell us they are continuing to work with agencies like Caltrans and the City of Santa Maria to try to address the problem but there is “no easy solution”.