Dozers work on sand relocation at Goleta Beach Feb. 18, 2010
Paul Wellman

The annual berm buildup on Goleta Beach has some ocean-lovers up in arms, as a group of swimmers are worried that the blackish sediment is contaminating their favorite place for exercise. “I’m very concerned about the huge quantities of black sediment or whatever it is that they’re putting into the sea,” said swimmer Cyril Humphris. “It’s being washed by the tide way beyond the pier.”

Humphris is part of a group of about a dozen swimmers, many of whom decided not to swim this week due to the sediment. “They said it was sand, but it’s got sticks and plastic in it,” claimed Humphris, who said there were “lorry loads and lorry loads” of the stuff. “It’s going straight into the sea.”

But according to Water Resources Deputy Director Tom Fayram, the new batch of transported sand is nothing to worry about. “The sand is clean. It’s passed all the necessary tests, such as grain size and chemical constituency, and been approved by the Coastal Commission, EPA, and Corps of Engineers like it always is.” Fayram admitted that the sand — taken out of San Antonio and San Roque Debris Basins — is darker than usual because it’s wet and is about 25 percent “fine” (meaning silt and sediment) but is not harmful to swimmers or the environment.


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