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California homeless camp's major toxic discharge creates environmental and water problems

Massive rains in northern California causing environmental concerns

Image source: KOVR-TV Video screenshot

A massive storm dumped record amounts of rain in northern California earlier this week, which led to rising rivers and severe flooding. And the toxic discharge that's been swept downstream from homeless camps that have many concerned in Sacramento, including geologist Roland Brady.

Brady, who volunteers as a steward for a one-mile section of Steelhead Creek, told KOVR-TV that Sacramento's homeless crisis is taking a toll on the environment.

"And I understand the necessity to have some place to go," he said. "The sad thing is that the environment is taking the beating."

The homeless camps have created enormous piles of waste along the creek's edge.

"What you'll see are places that look like a solid waste disposal site, with a creek flowing through it," Brady said.

Has this happened before?

Each time it rains, the water washes vast amounts of debris downstream.

"And that's what really frustrates me, is that there's very good control over just about everything else, but here it just happens in an enormous volume, every time it rains," Brady said.

In December, crews removed more than 100,000 pounds of waste from Brady's section of the creek. It was the largest clean up in the creek's history, according to Brady.

"What we didn't get, is in the water," he told the news outlet. "What we did get, is not in the water."

What's being done about the problem?

Last year, Sacramento County approved $5 million in additional funds to help clean up areas along the American River Parkway, but no agency has yet claimed responsibility for cleaning Brady's section.

State officials are scheduled to meet with the Regional Water Quality Control board about the problem next month.

"For the first time, they're working on it, and that's my tentative optimism," Brady said.

One last thing…
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