CSPA's Executive Director, Bill Jennings to appear on KPIX, Channel 5, San Francisco, regarding Stockton Wastewater Plant and the health of the delta
September 4, 2008 -- Investigative reporter, Jeff Schaub of KPIX gave Bill Jennings a call. Jeff was interested in some of the concerns that CSPA has about the delta. Arrangements were made and at 12 noon Wednesday, Jeff and his cameraman Don, met Bill and the skipper for the day, Jerry Neuburger, at the Village West Marina.
Jeff was particularly interested in the suit that CSPA may file against the City of Stockton for numerous violations in the operation of the city's waste water treatment plant. After a few stock shots of the boat moving through the water, the crew headed down 14 Mile Slough to the San Joaquin. Before they could reach the main river a huge pile of discarded beer cans, picnic garbage, and other litter was seen on a shore. Jeff asked what the story was and was told that the garbage was the accumulation of one weekends waste from river partygoers. While the trash pile had a huge impact, it was not the reason for the trip and the boat and crew motored on only to find the hull of a 36 foot sailboat half in the water and half in the tulles.
Again Jeff asked what the story was and was told of the numerous boats abandoned, with no apparent attempt to clean them up or bill the owners. Jeff asked what agency would be responsible for the operation and was told the the various sheriff's offices, depending on which county the abandoned craft is located in.
Bill Jennings directed the boat into the port area and showed Jeff a set of docks where a large sulfur unloading operation took place. Jennings explained that a few years ago, the operation was so poorly run that the water and shore was coated with sulfur dust. After CSPA's efforts, the operation was cleaned up and is now much less of a pollution source in the port area.
Jennings then took Jeff up the San Joaquin and showed the location of the outlet to the city's waste water treatment plant. The point where the pipe enters the delta is a location where well over a hundred radio tagged salmon smolts were found dead. The pipe discharges a number of heavy metals which are extremely toxic. In addition, the city's sewage facility has had a number of spills and leaks that are ten times the norm for treatment plant operations.
On the way back to the marina, a party of boaters were spotted at the beach where all the litter was located. As we passed close by they pointed to the garbage and commented on the disgusting pile of filth. Jeff had the skipper stop and interviewed the group. They said that it was their once a year party. In the past they had found the island slightly littered and had picked up some of the stuff besides their own but the amount of trash was far beyond their capabilities.
Jeff and Don were so fascinated by the litter that they called their helicopter up from the bay area for some aerial shots. The chopper could be heard from the marina as the two were dropped off. Jeff said that he planned a whole series on the delta and had originally planned only a 2 -2 1/2 minute segment on what he and Don filmed but with so much to cover, the project may turn into a half hour special.
The segments shot on Wednesday are expected to be shown some time next week.