The City of Berkeley plans to use $2 million in Clean Water Bond money from the State Coastal Conservancy to open discharge outlets from the City’s primary storm drains into the tidal bay ponds of Aquatic Park. Discharge of contaminated storm water into the enclosed ponds has been prohibited by the State since 1971, but the City hopes to overturn that restriction and replace it with a permit allowing such toxic discharges in perpetuity. The use of high-pressure pumps can increase the capacity of the City’s drains and avoid violations of the Water Board’s prohibition. Improving circulation within the lagoon system must begin with regular maintenance of the existing culverts, the option selected by Council in 1994 when staff first proposed the project in an earlier version. Additional water circulation can be safely engineered with a one-way flow out of the lagoons, thus prohibiting the introductions of toxic storm runoff. Such one-way outbound options have been recommended for consideration by the State Water Board regulator in his project analysis, but they have not yet been modeled.
This item is on the City Council agenda at their June 24 meeting. For more information, visit Aquatic Park EGRET’s web site: www.egretpark.org