Crew cleans up tons of debris from San Diego Bay

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SAN DIEGO –A three-year South Bay clean-up project is in its final stages, and tons of debris have been recovered from the bay floor.

In 2008, the Port of San Diego shut down an anchorage in the South Bay where people were allowed to anchor their boats and live for free.  Since then they’ve been working on cleaning up the mess left behind.

“Today alone, we picked up 3000 pounds of debris,” said Robert Butler with Vessel Assist.  He’s one of the two divers working on this project.  They use cranes and other equipment to lift the heavy masses from the water.

To date, 75 boats, a barge, old tires, car batteries, and concrete slabs have been recovered and hauled away.

“Everyone would throw thingsailboatss from the side because you had two or three hundred boats out here,” said Eric Lamb with Vessel Assist.

Crews are using precise sonar to help locate debris in shallow water which would otherwise pose a danger to boaters and sea life.

“This debris can potentially pose a navigational hazard,” said David Merk, with the Port of San Diego.

The project is being funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, State Water Resources Control Board, and the Pacific Tugboat Service.

“On a daily basis you see dolphins out here,” said Lamb.  “It’s obviously showing by the signs of sea life that it’s working.”

The final phase of the project is expected to be completed by the end of September.

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