On March 11, our advocacy staff closed one chapter in a very long, contentious, and arduous book: cleaning up the toxic legacy of sediment contamination in San Diego Bay. Though not one dredged scoop of toxic sediment has been removed, March 11 marked the end of the discovery period.
This year-long process allowed all the affected parties, those named by the Regional Water Quality Control Board for causing pollution and public watchdog groups San Diego Coastkeeper and the Environmental Health Coalition, to gather information to make their cases. The year was marked by an avalanche of information demanded of the environmental groups, including 841 written requests and more than a month of live witness depositions – three aimed at environmental staff and experts. Staff ably rose to the challenge, completing the discovery and both defending and taking depositions. The information we gathered will be critical to gaining a protective and scientifically defensible cleanup of the Bay. A briefing and public comment period will take place over the summer, with a final hearing currently scheduled for mid-October.