NEWPORT BEACH (CBSLA.com) — City crews Tuesday began cleaning up Newport Beach’s dog beach, where visitors reported finding hypodermic needles and syringes along with other trash that were washed ashore after the recent storms.
“After a large rain storm, we will see a large amount of debris, trash. Not just trash, but tree branches, leaves; but also litter that people throw in the storm drains and flood channels. We’ll see that wash up. So this is no uncommon,” OC Public Works Spokesman Shannon Widor said.
Dressed in white hazmat suits and armed with rakes and trash bags, workers removed huge piles of debris from the beach.
There have been reports of as many as 75 to 100 needles were found along the stretch of sand where the Santa Ana River feeds into the ocean.
But according to Newport Beach Police Lt. Jeff Brouwer, that number was exaggerated.
“We were only able to locate five needles, not like the 100 or so being reported,” Brouwer said.
Public Works and Municipal Operations employees rechecked the beach Tuesday and only found one additional needle, said the lieutenant.
“We’re obviously worried about somebody getting contaminated or stuck with one of those needles,” he added.
Police think it is possible the needles came from transient encampments.
“We’re still checking because we want to make sure it’s not an ongoing problem. But it’s not like it’s a widespread problem as of now,” Brouwer added.