Move will double the number of cleanups

By Staff Reports

The Valley Water Board of Directors allocated additional resources to  support greater service and coordination toward cleaning up trash, debris, and hazardous pollutants  produced by encampments along waterways in Santa Clara County.

At the Aug. 22 meeting, the board approved two new staff positions, adding to Valley Water’s cleanup efforts  countywide. The decision follows the board’s approval earlier this year of two new jobs  dedicated to encampment cleanup operations and increased funding for related services and supplies.

“This investment in additional resources reflects Valley Water’s commitment to protecting the health  of Santa Clara County’s creeks,” Chair John L. Varela said in a press release.

In the previous fiscal year (July 2022 — June 2023), Valley Water’s encampment cleanup crew removed  more than 2.7 million pounds of trash, debris, and hazardous pollutants generated from encampments. The board’s recent actions to expand the level of such service will allow Valley Water to double the  number of cleanups during the year.

Recently, the board also voted to support two programs that further enhance cleanliness along waterways. The Clean Camps, Clean Creeks Program will provide debit cards to  unsheltered residents who maintain camps free of trash and debris or collect and bag trash accumulated on land owned or managed by Valley Water.

The Portable Toilet Facilities Program will administer the provision and servicing of portable toilets and  wash stations at 20 critical locations along local creeks to reduce biowaste entering the waterways.

To help support these efforts, Valley Water was awarded a grant from the U.S. Environmental  Protection Agency providing about $2.2 million to perform the cleanups and provide portable toilets on heavily impacted creeks. The grant also provides about $900,000 to address  encampment-generated environmental impacts on Coyote Creek.