SD Bay Bottom Cleanup (Dredging). Write an email for us?

  • March 24, 2014 · 8:00 AM
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The bottom, at several points in San Diego Bay, is contaminated (heavy metals, industrial leavings, et). This long-awaited cleanup was supposed to begin this month. However, at a recent community meeting we were told the cleanup is on hold, mainly because the City of San Diego has refused to sign on to a plan which has been approved by nearly every other involved party.


The issue and the history:

San Diego Bay was for many decades a dumping site for heavy metals and other toxic materials from shipyards, the Navy, the City of San Diego and SDGE. On March 14, 2012, the San Diego Water Board ordered multiple entities to clean 21 acres of contaminated sediment along the San Diego Bay by adopting a Cleanup and Abatement Order. The following entities were named in the Cleanup Order: BAE Systems San Diego Ship Repair, Campbell Industries, the City of San Diego, the National Steel and Shipbuilding Company, San Diego Gas and Electric Company (SDG&E), the San Diego Unified Port District and the United States Navy.

Five years of mediation have resulted in a remedial action plan onto which most of the concerned parties have signed and agreed to fund, including BAE and NASSCO. However, after all of this hard work, and despite all the mediation, the City of San Diego has refused to sign onto the plan.

The problem:

From the SD Clean Bay website  :

 “Starting September 2013, the San Diego Bay Environmental Restoration Trust will begin a three year construction project removing sediment from the area and improving the quality of San Diego Bay. Regarding the south site, some of the responsible parties have committed to funding its share of future remediation costs, while others have refused to provide the necessary funding. Until all of the named dischargers in the south site commit to implementing the cleanup, it may not proceed on schedule.

If the City of San Diego continues to refuse to participate, what will happen will be more litigation, which may end up costing more than participation – and may result in a legal ruling requiring participation anyway. Thus the taxpayers may well end up paying pay twice for the same result. Meanwhile, this much-needed cleanup will be delayed by several years.

What is needed right now is public pressure on City of San Diego Councilmembers. If you’re a city resident (and even if you’re not) and you care about diving in healthy local waters; if you eat fish, photograph fish or simply watch fish and want our bay to be a healthy nursery for those same fish; if you care about the many seabirds and marine mammals who forage for fish and crustaceans in the Bay; then please take a few minutes and email all of the City Councilmembers and the Acting Mayor. Tell them it’s time for them to stop stalling. The City of San Diego needs to sign onto - and help fund - the San Diego Bay Cleanup Action Plan.

Here's a list of San Diego City Council members (if you’re a City resident and don’t know your Councilmember, go to and enter your zip code)

If you want to call or snail-mail, see the document "SD City Council contact info" in Power Scuba's Files section under "More".)

District 1
Council President Pro Tem Sherri Lightner

District 2
Councilmember Kevin Faulconer

District 3
Council President/Acting Mayor Todd Gloria

District 4
Councilmember Myrtle Cole

District 5
Councilmember Mark Kersey

District 6
Councilmember Lorie Zapf

District 7
Councilmember Scott Sherman

District 8
Councilmember David Alvarez

District 9
Councilmember Marti Emerald

Join or login to comment.

  • steve m.

    BAE Systems San Diego Ship Repair has started the dredging and is leading the effort in the shipyard area

    1 · September 28

  • Shaun H.

    The SD Bay North Cleanup has Begun. this cleanup is to continue until early 2016, or complete, whichever comes first.

    September 28

  • Callie M.

    Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere
    Clean up, clean up, San Diego do your share!

    C'mon everyone, if you haven't already done so, please RSVP and then write a quick line to all the members of San Diego City Council. The bay gobies will thank you.

    1 · October 28, 2013

    • michael g.

      Hey Callie can we get a copy of minutes concerning the cleanup compliance so no slight of the hand will happen when it comes to disbursement of considerstion with no possible rescissions.

      March 25, 2014

    • Callie M.

      I'll email the Clean Bay people for an update.

      March 25, 2014

  • michael g.

    I sent an email to Bill Powers and I'm very sorry for the length of the email. 1000 words would not be enough to cover the aspects I believe everyone should be aware of and how one could help. Sometimes when we write a Congressman, I feel it is an exercise in futility, but on the other side of the coin, surprises do happen where the government sits up and takes noticed.

    March 24, 2014

  • Tom B.

    Good to see you

    March 24, 2014

  • Tom B.

    We are a bit late, but are sending a note to Faulconer, who was our Councilmember.

    March 24, 2014

  • Geoff H.

    I send a note off to Councilmembers in the hopes that it helps move this forward. Thanks for bringing this up, Bill.

    March 23, 2014

  • Bill P.

    My question was only half-way rhetorical: Paolo, Derek, Mark, Linalyn, Travis, Michael, and HKS: Why did you take the time to RSVP "No" to this event? I can understand if you simply ignored the page. People only have so much time in the day for social media. We get that. But you all went the extra step... which leads us to ask the question, "Is there an angle here we're not seeing?". I'd really like to know. Not singling you out for disparagement. Just wanna find out what's on your mind regarding this important issue.

    1 · December 16, 2013

    • Tashia

      My guess is it looked like an event in a date and people didn't read through, so maybe a repost with a different title may get more response. We are over 2 thousand strong and could make an impact!!!

      December 28, 2013

  • Bill P.

    To the people who took the time to decline to participate here (RSVPed "No": I'd REALLY like to know your reasoning for not supporting this. Is there a side we're not seeing?

    3 · December 12, 2013

  • Callie M.

    Here's the very latest info from the San Diego Clean Bay Project. Sounds like it's still a good idea to let our City Councilmembers and Acting Mayor Gloria know that we support the Bay Cleanup:

    "Thank you for inquiry regarding the Bay Cleanup.

    Cleanup began in late September at the southern portion of the shipyards (in front of NASSCO) in Barrio Logan. While the San Diego city council directed the city attorney to pay up to $6.4M in remediation costs, it was under a full reservation of rights and the City continues its aggressive litigation posture with the other parties. Judge Skomal issued a "stay" on all formal discovery for parties that have reached settlement, temporarily halting the city's request for additional litigation against parties that are settling and cooperating with cleanup. The Court's decision recognized the extensive efforts of some parties to resolve their disputes, and was instrumental in NASSCO moving forward with cleanup of San Diego Bay.

    1 · December 5, 2013

    • Bill P.

      Thanks, Callie.

      December 12, 2013

  • Callie M.

    "If there are further developments we will be sure to communicate them via our website but please feel free to contact us with additional questions.

    Thank you"

    (2 parts due to character limits)

    December 5, 2013

  • Callie M.

    Sounds like the City may have to comply with the cleanup effort after all!

    I'm in the process of confirming this with the Clean Bay folks (hoping they'll reply to their phone messages).

    December 4, 2013

  • Callie M.

    I just found this article from VOSD online. It originally ran in September, It explains a little more about the City's efforts to stall the bayfront cleanup:

    December 4, 2013

  • Callie M.

    These should all be valid City Council emails. I'll check them again to make sure they're still working. (As far as I know, we still have a working City government!)

    November 22, 2013

  • Chris the a.

    Tried to contact these people thru these email addresses, and they were all rejected...? might have to use gmail to send messages to them.

    November 22, 2013

  • Callie M.

    Folks, I just noticed we have over 2000 members! So I want to see at least 500 of you signed up here and peppering our City Councilmembers with emails. (Even if you don't live in San Diego, send emails anyway. It's all the same ocean no matter which city you live in!) This may not be as emotionally compelling as shark fins, but it's very important: A nice healthy bay = more nice healthy marine life in OUR ocean.

    (And yes, I emailed all the San Diego City Council members plus Acting Mayor Todd Gloria.)

    2 · October 8, 2013

  • Tom B.

    Just sent a note to my District Councilman. Will advise of any response.

    October 2, 2013

  • Callie M.

    This just in from the Bay Cleanup folks:

    Thank you for your contacting us. The following is in response to your inquiry:

    "We understand that the City has chosen to litigate this matter rather than settle it and implement the remedy. Its lawyers have already launched discovery against the other parties. We encourage you to reach out to your councilmember and urge them to convince the City Attorney to stop the fighting. Remediate, don’t litigate.

    Please check visit our website at regularly for updates. Additionally, if you have any additional questions about the project, please feel free to continue to direct them to our project hotline at (855)[masked] or email us at [masked]."

    So - write those councilmembers now!

    1 · September 24, 2013

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