Nancy Fisher | 24th Street
Del Mar residents, and especially those who live in the Beach Colony have enjoyed a long and ambivalent relationship with the drainage ditch that runs between 21st and 28th Street just west of the railroad tracks.
For residents on the east side of the tracks, crossing the muddy ditch is an illegal, but expedient, way to get to the beach for a swim or a romp on Dog Beach. For those on the west side, it’s a weed-clogged, mosquito-infested eyesore, but still somewhat respected for its role in limiting the pedestrian traffic that flows through the neighborhood during the fair and racing seasons.
Soon, thanks to a $495,000 grant to the city from the County of San Diego Department of Environmental Health Vector Habitat Remediation Program, some of these concerns will be addressed. The program was implemented to control mosquitos and other disease-carrying insects and rodents in San Diego County, and offers funds to projects that focus on “comprehensive solutions for source reduction of mosquito breeding habitats through physical modification in mosquito breeding problem areas.”
Del Mar’s drainage ditch, which is regularly filled with “nuisance” water (standing water caused by rainfall or overwatering of yards), proved eligible for the grant and the city found a solution, described as a “modified French drain,” that they believe will solve the mosquito problem while complying with the other parameters of the grant.
The ditch will be widened to six feet and filled to the existing ground-water level with rocks and boulders that will be large and jagged enough to discourage pedestrian traffic. A perforated underground pipe, designed to collect the “nuisance” water will be installed parallel to it, on the west side, for the length of the ditch. The excess water, which is a breeding ground for mosquitos, will percolate into the drainage pipe and be channeled north to a new and unintrusive solar-powered pump station at 28th Street, where it will be returned to the 21st Street pump station for treatment.
Eric Minicilli, Del Mar’s Public Works Director, wants the community to understand that this project will not solve the drainage problems in the Beach Colony area, and will not affect procedures and equipment already in place to prevent flooding. “But having a dry channel,” he offers, “will provide the ancillary benefit of reducing weed growth.”
The project team and engineers have hosted two open houses on this project and on proposed drainage improvements to San Dieguito Road. Written comments may be submitted to: Public Works – Vector Habitat Remediation Projects at email@example.com, or call the Public Works Department at 858-755-3294.