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Local Reporting Agency
updated: Jan 23, 2014, 1:10 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

Does anyone know which county agency should be notified in the event a construction site has unexplained material draining into a storm drain? This has been going on for three weeks mostly in the late evening and all night long. The substance had a foul odor and is sludge like. The site is a subdivision where several homes are done and have been occupied for 5+ years.

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Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 488595 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-23 01:32 PM

From a quick search of the web, if it is in the City it would be the storm Water management program staff. One number is 897-2508.

The County would have a similar group.


 COMMENT 488597P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-23 01:36 PM

Main Office: 130 E. Victoria Street, Suite 200, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Tel (805) 568-3440 Fax (805) 568-3434
Office hours: 8:00am - 12:00pm and 1:00pm - 5:00pm Monday - Friday

Flood Control Information Line (Local Flood Updates)
(805) 568-3451


The info above is for County Water Control Resources/Control. I'd start there.


 COMMENT 488598P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-23 01:37 PM

Call the 568-3440 number.


 COMMENT 488602 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-23 01:40 PM

WOW.. it must be raining where ever you are. Congratulations!


 COMMENT 488604P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-23 01:41 PM

That's the County Public Works #. The office is in the newly designated "Naomi Schwartz" building. Good for you, keeping an eye out and reporting such things. It pays to be alert, when trying to keep our waterways healthy.


 COMMENT 488608P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-23 01:45 PM

@602 I was thinking the same thing!!!


 COMMENT 488615 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-23 01:56 PM

Why would your first reaction be to call a government agency? It's unclear from your description if this is an active construction site or just a semi-complete subdivision. Either way, walk onto the property and ask for the guy in charge of construction (or a home owner). Address your concern with him. Escalate if necessary.

We could take bets on the source: I'm guessing sprinkler run off or a drain from a pool.


 COMMENT 488617 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-23 02:06 PM

615 makes a good point. What is the matter w/ actually asking the construction co. to figure out the problem and fix it? Or maybe you can find the happy side of the pipe and chase the 'mystery' liquid yourself. Or, contact your closest Nanny?


 COMMENT 488621 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-23 02:14 PM

I don't think it's the responsibility of a private citizen to talk to a construction company. It's the city's responsibility to enforce regulations. If the construction site isn't doing anything wrong, then they have nothing to worry about. If they are, then the city can enforce it. I highly doubt that a construction manager is going to even care about or put a high priority on a private citizen's concerns, especially when they have no authority to enforce anything.


 COMMENT 488631 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-23 02:26 PM

The construction company probably has no idea there is a leak. Wouldn't you rather have a neighbor let you know about a leak versus a knock on the door from a "county regulation enforcer"? Let's give neighborliness a try.


 COMMENT 488660 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-23 03:12 PM

I vote for 621! Makes more sense..., our tax dollars at work to protect our environment.


 COMMENT 488663 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-23 03:22 PM

660, you're kidding right? Having some inspector chase down a leaky sprinkler is the best use of their time and "our tax dollars"? There are way bigger fish to fry than this small time issue. Why the passive aggressive tendency to always call someone?

OP, please use some common sense: talk to the property owner or contractor. If they blow you off, tell them you'll droop a dime on them. My bet is they'll thank you profusely for noticing the leak.


 COMMENT 488664 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-23 03:23 PM

I vote against 621. It makes NO sense to perpetuate the need for government in instances where we are able and willing to take action ourselves. Whoever is in charge on that site can and will do something about it if it's not supposed to be there. They'd rather rectify it than be shut down... believe me. And if its legitimate drainage, you'll learn something you didn't know! Win win.


 COMMENT 488679 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-23 03:49 PM

This isn't a "leaky sprinkler". Per the OP, it's a sludge-like substance with a foul odor. I think some of you are too trusting if you think that someone at the construction company isn't aware that something is going on. At best, they are being careless and letting pollutants drain into the ocean. At worst, they are hoping no one will notice. If they don't want an inspector knocking, then they should be more responsible to begin with. How would you even expect a private citizen to go walking onto a construction site...buy a hardhat? avoid the big machinery? How would they even know who to contact in the bureaucracy. Much easier to contact the city and have them deal with it. They should already have contacts in place for the construction job.


 COMMENT 488683P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-23 03:59 PM

Yes, always report even the tiniest thing you think is a problem to the government - after all, this is the sort of cooperation that made the east German Stasi great. If you see something, say something!


 COMMENT 488685 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-23 04:01 PM

679, two observations: Most of us were taught to give people the benefit of the doubt and follow the Golden Rule. You are making excuses for the OP not to do either. And everyone has an opinion and could speculate (slow leak picks up moss and funk while traveling down long drain pipe?)

OP, be a good neighbor, take a deep breath, and enter the property. If you're unwilling, post the leak's address and let one of your more willing neighbors will do it. Remember also that once the contractor takes off his hard hat, he's one of your neighbors too.


 COMMENT 488708 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-23 05:07 PM

The assumption that it is a leaky sprinkler without any facts to support it is simply an opinion. We know what they say about the word assume.


 COMMENT 488713 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-23 05:11 PM

708, assumptions is what make edhat so fun to read: just like you, everyone bases said opinions on a photo and a sentence or two description. I'm with 685. Be a good neighbor.


 COMMENT 488718 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-23 05:19 PM

What construction is going on over night at that job site-guessing none cause it would be on OT?

Guessing there is a leak some where, either in a sprinkler system that is going off at a poor time for anyone to notice leaks (if they used the skunky mulch from the dump you can bet that would have a foul odor)

Or some other kind of water leak that happens only when people are not using the water, in either case, I would bet the job foreman would want to know


 COMMENT 488720P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-23 05:29 PM

OP here. @615 I assumed it was sprinkler run off until it became constant. That's why 3 weeks went by before I questioned it. When the pavement started peeling off all along the side of the road I got concerned. There is no construction manager on site. These are lots that are sold off and built individually. Construction has been happening on and off for 15 years. Many violations have occured in the past with this development and illegal washing of construction materials. It is a gated property so I cannot just walk in. I previously contacted the HOA and they informed mebit is not sprinkler run off and were looking into it. Nothing came of it and it continues to leak this sludgy crud. Public works immediately came out and are working to resolve it. I cannot believe how quickly they responded. Thank you to those who posted the number.


 COMMENT 488741 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-23 06:30 PM

OP, good job!


 COMMENT 488752 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-23 07:03 PM

could also be leaking cess pits.. better to have it checked out...


 COMMENT 488769 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-23 07:51 PM

ya just call ellers donuts you will find plenty of city workers there all on there coffee break, all day?


 COMMENT 488825 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-24 07:54 AM

If it is within city limits and flows into the gutter, call the City Creeks Division's "Illicit Discharge" hotline at 897-2688.


 COMMENT 488828 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-24 08:00 AM

Taste it. If you do not get immediately ill, then seriously contemplate your impulse to sic the law on your neighbors


 COMMENT 488838P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-24 08:19 AM

Call the Building and Safety Division of either the Goleta City or Santa Barbara Planning and Development Departments or County. They handle inspections to the job site, but are normally only called out by the contractor for specific inspections at particular times during the construction process. As a neighbor, you can report drainage into storm drain, but your complaint will be recorded into public record.


 COMMENT 488843P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-24 08:24 AM

I posted the County numbers for you, OP. Thanks for contacting the correct entity and getting the problem resolved ASAP.

My favorite comment on this thread is the one about the contractor taking off his hat and then he's a neighbor, too. Haha. How likely is it this company is locally owned?

@621. Your post offered the most sensible and perspicacious opinion. My hat's off to you.


 COMMENT 488862 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-24 09:18 AM

Good job, and good for Public Works to come right out. In the future you can also call the Environmental Defense Center. EDC provides assistance to community members with environmental concerns.


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