Last month, the Living Arroyos Program assisted the City of Pleasanton in meeting waste pollution standards outlined in the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Systems (NPDES): Stormwater Permit. We removed a total of 121 gallons of trash from four project sites located throughout the City of Pleasanton. Our work plan for the day was to visit 4 of our Pleasanton sites, which were newly acquired when the City of Pleasanton became a partner in our program, and pick up any trash that was there. The first three sites our crew visited were (1) Marilyn Murphy Kane “BMX” track (2) Pleasanton West Detention Pond (3) Bernal/Fairgrounds Ditch. Collectively, these sites had relatively small amounts of trash for their size and were a simple clean up. Our fourth site, Vine Street Apartments, was a completely different story. We had visited this site on Vine Street, behind the Las Ventanas apartments, before and we knew that there was going to be a lot of trash to pick up, but we could have never estimated that it would be as bad as it was.
We arrived at the site around 10:30 AM. One of the first things we noticed about the site was the horrid stench. One of my fellow interns described it as smelling like “stale beer”, and I couldn’t disagree with him. So we made our way down the slight hill and entered an area that was densely covered with trees and shrubs. Mixed within those trees and shrubs was an abundance of trash, like I had never seen before. Name any sort of item and there is a high probability that we came across that item. Along with the high variance of items came even more recyclable bottles. I would say there was anywhere between 100 to 200 bottles found, most of which were beer bottles or alcohol bottles (someone has been partying a little bit too hard lately). We maneuvered our way through the trees and picked up as much trash as we could. In an hour, we picked up enough trash to completely fill up two 40 gallon garbage bags. In total we picked up 30 gallons of trash and 45 gallons of recyclables.
Although removing trash can be strenuous work, it is very beneficial to the community. First off, trash removal creates an aesthetically pleasing environment for anyone interested in walking along local park trails and urban creeks. Secondly, picking up trash near streams prevents trash and debris from entering those streams, which could cause potential harm to wildlife and water quality conditions.
Living Arroyos intern