Newport Bay Storm Drain Study

Stormdrain Monitoring Completed!

On May 8 2009, Coastkeeper conducted the last sampling event for the stormdrain project. Through 3 years of monitoring, we have collected 264 samples over 14 sampling events. Check out the Final Report here.

Project Background

High levels of metals in Newport Bay can have toxic effects on wildlife and the surrounding environment.  Coastkeeper has conducted research to measure metals pollution present in the bay through the Rhine Channel and Copper/Metals Projects. To better understand other sources of metals to the bay, Coastkeeper initiated the Lower Newport Bay Metals Stormdrain Study.  The city of Newport Beach contracted Coastkeeper to run this project with funding from the Regional Water Quality Control Board.  This project investigated the metal loading to Lower Newport Bay from stormwater and dry weather runoff.


To view all project sites during the investigation: Lower Newport Bay Study Sites

What were the Project Goals?

The goals of this project were to measure the concentrations of metals in stormdrain runoff to the Lower Newport Bay during wet and dry seasons and to determine their loading capacity to the bay.  By identifying the major sources of metals that drain into the bay, we can target the highest contributors to ultimately reduce the amount of metals entering the bay.

How was this project conducted?

For this project Coastkeeper staff collected samples from twenty stormdrains throughout Lower Newport Bay. These twenty stormdrains were selected to be representative of all stormdrain flow into the bay. The samples are collected during storm events and dry weather sessions.  A commercial lab analyzed the samples, and the data results were analyzed by Coastkeeper and reported to the City of Newport Beach.

How do metals get into the stormdrains?

You might be wondering how we contribute to metals pollution in the Back Bay in our everyday activites.  Sources of metals in stormwater runoff include copper from automobile brake pads as well as other metals such as arsenic, zinc, mercury, nickel, lead, chromium, and tin.  These metals have many functions in auto operation, maintenance, and repair and can reach city streets during uncontrolled pressure washing, painting, antifouling or fueling activities. Excess runoff from lawn watering or hosing down driveways can carry metals from the street into the stormdarins.  Metals then enter waterways, and ultimately the bay, via an intricate system of over 200 stormdrains.

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