Newport Beach to Install Pipe Screens to Reduce Harbor Pollution

JULIE LEOPO, Voice of OC

Small cove near Bayside Drive in Newport Harbor.

Newport Beach plans to install 425 connector pipe screens to the city’s catch basins to curb the flow of trash into Upper Newport Bay and Newport Harbor.

The installation is the city’s latest effort to control trash flow into the bay. Other projects, such as monthly beach cleanups and the recently-purchased $1.7 million trash-filtering water wheel approved by the City Council members on Sept. 25, focus on removing existing trash from the bay’s waters.

The new screens are the city’s attempt to reduce trash from entering waterways through pipes and storm drains. Council members voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the installation. 

The vote will help Newport Beach meet an administrative order from the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board. The order requires all Orange County cities to implement new statewide trash requirements made by the State Water Resources Control Board in 2017, according to the staff report.

The maintenance and installation will cost $156,531.75, and $125,226 of that sum will come from a grant awarded by the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) for the Measure M Environmental Cleanup Program. Newport Beach will pay the remaining $31,305.75.

The Measure M Environmental Cleanup Program was approved by voters in 2006 and has awarded more than $2.4 million to 12 cities in Orange County for water-protection projects, according to OCTA that operates the program. Measure M is a half-cent sales tax approved by voters to pay for transportation improvements.

The city will sign a contract with United Storm Water, Inc., a storm water management firm that has a pre-negotiated purchase and installation agreement with OCTA, as part of the environmental cleanup program.

Newport Beach staff reported they expect to apply for more Measure M Environmental Cleanup Program grants to install and maintain more connector pipe screens in the future.