The Blue Water Task Force (BWTF) is the Surfrider Foundation’s water quality monitoring, education and advocacy program. It is utilized by our Chapter members to alert citizens and officials in their communities about water quality problems and to work toward solutions. BWTF has demonstrated success by raising public awareness of coastal water pollution levels and precipitating the establishment of state and local government water quality monitoring programs in many communities where the program has been implemented.
BWTF was established with the following objectives:
- to provide concerned citizens with the opportunity for hands-on involvement with an environmental problem solving effort;
- to gather coastal water samples on a regular basis to determine pollution patterns in the near shore environment;
- to raise public awareness regarding the extent and severity of coastal water pollution;
- to use the data collected to bring polluters into compliance;
- to develop a model program that could influence national legislation and enforcement.
Ways To Get Involved With the BWTF:
Become a Water Quality Monitor: Volunteers are trained to become water quality monitors, after training they are sent out in the field with a Watershed Captain to test the water quality of one of our local watersheds. We maintain an ongoing list of volunteers who want to be trained. Becoming a Water Quality Monitor is a serious commitment.
Help Spread the News: We are constantly looking for new ways to communicate the valuable information we gain to the public so that they can benefit from the information and stay safe. We also strive to communicate our data to politicians, agencies, and localities in the hopes that our data will lead to responsible policy decisions and ultimately, to clean waterways and beaches everywhere. Volunteers are needed to help analyze and publish the results of the water quality monitoring, and of their own experiences.
Tell us your Stories: Dirty water in your area? Getting sick while surfing? Report illnesses that may be caused by the water on our ocean illness survey- CLICK HERE to fill out an ocean illness survey.
Join the BWTF Committee: Committee members meet (along with any other interested members of the public) during the year to discuss the status of the water quality monitoring program, how the program can be expanded, and how we can better educate and integrate the public into this important program. Committee members also keep the chapter informed of local water quality issues.
Clean Water Street Team – Report Storm Water Violations in Your Neighborhood
Clean Water Street Team is designed to empower everyone throughout Orange County to help make a difference with protecting one of our most valuable natural resources, clean water. The main goal is to stop storm water violations. The most common violations are when businesses wash down their sidewalk and/or parking lot and from construction.
Oil, grease, and many other pollutants are getting picked up by the discharge, entering storm drains, and are contributing to the urban runoff problem that can close our coastal waters for recreational use. Also, there is the harmful effect on the marine environment. Please note, per City, State, and Federal law, only storm water may be discharged off of commercial property, and in no circumstances may any person or business discharge waste water into Orange County’s storm drains.
Anyone can help out, no formal training is required. We do offer a few recommended guidelines and tips on getting the most effective pictures:
- Be non-confrontational. Our goal is to document the problem, then have the proper authorities approach the violator.
- Look at the whole area before taking pictures, video or samples. Be sure that the runoff is going to storm drains. Some business wash down properly by having a diverter vacuum that collects the waste water before entering a storm drain.
- Get up close, detailed pictures of the violation AND an overall picture that shows the storefront associated with the violation and/or the nearest cross streets when possible.
- Report the information to the local agency (see below) including: the type of problem, a description of it, the exact location, how the incident was discovered, when the incident began, were any resources directly at risk, the suspected source (Please include Name, Address, Phone Number, or any other information you have), any evidence do you have – pictures, video, sample. Many agencies ask for your contact info as well.
BWTF Water Testing
Below are links of contacts for local city storm water/environmental services departments where you can submit the alleged violations.
Citizen Watershed Monitors of Orange County (CWMOC)
The Citizen Watershed Monitors of Orange County (CWMOC) sponsored by Southern California’s Regional Water Control boards, was formed to grow the citizen water quality monitoring effort of watersheds in Orange County, with a networking approach and with participation from the involved agencies, non-profits, and community based organizations. Our chapter is one of the founding members of this coalition of environmental organizations, which include the Bolsa Chica Conservancy, Trout Unlimited, Orange County Coastkeeper, Huntington Beach Wetlands Conservancy, and Golden West College.