By CBSLA Staff

SAN CLEMENT (CBSLA) – A human waste problem at a popular Orange County pier has been contaminating the water for years, and San Clemente officials are tying to figure out what’s causing the issue.

Surfer Craig Roach, who surfs right near the San Clemente pier every week, said he had no idea that the water has been contaminated with human waste.

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“It’s a bit concerning because I haven’t been told of it up until now,” Roach said. “And it makes me not really want to surf here, to be honest with you.”

The problem of human waste in the water started two years ago, but its cause remains a mystery. The city of San Clement hired with environment service contractors to figure out why the water was so dirty. They thought pigeon droppings were the culprit, but after that clean up, the problem persisted.

“I don’t like the sound of that. Honestly, it’s not good,” said surfer Ramtin Ghanedati. “It’s concerning. It could be toxic.”

City officials have now hired the same contractors to see if they can solve the mystery and fix the problem. Samples taken earlier this year are still detecting human DNA in the water, specifically from two storm drains that pipe discharge to the ocean shoreline under the pier.

A sign posted under the pier, between the two drains, reads: “Warning, no wading or swimming. Runoff storm drain water may cause illness.”

Contractors have told the city they need more time to find and get rid of the human source in the watershed. Beachgoers say the city should post warning signs where they can be seen.

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Asked if he would’ve continued to surf at the San Clemente pier had he known about the problem of human waste in the water, Ghanedati said it would’ve certainly been a factor.

“I probably would have changed my mind,” he said.

Swimmer Karen Bustard agreed.

“We probably would have come to a different beach if we had known this,” she said.

When asked about the ongoing issue of human waste in the water beneath the pier, CBSLA was told no that no one with the city was available for comment.

 

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