Constructed in 2006, the purpose of the Hope and Haley Storm Drain Diversions is to improve summer water quality in creeks and beaches in the City of Santa Barbara.
The projects divert dry weather flow (urban runoff) at two locations: Hope Avenue Storm Drain and Haley Street Storm Drain. Both locations are known to have high levels of indicator bacteria, and were identified as high priority by the Bacterial Reduction Study conducted for the Creeks Division by URS in 2002.
The diversions take the water that enters these storm drains and diverts it to the sanitary sewer system for treatment at El Estero Wastewater Treatment Facility. The project is designed for dry weather flows, and does not divert water from storm events.
The Haley Street Drain conveys runoff from the downtown area and discharges into Mission Creek. The Haley site is located underground in the parking lane between De La Vina Street and Brinkerhoff Avenue, and the diversion requires a pump station. The Hope Avenue Drain conveys runoff from commercial areas along upper State Street and discharges to Arroyo Burro Creek. The diversion is located underground in the parking lot at La Cumbre Plaza (near Hope Street) and operates by gravity flow.
During the summer of 2010, the Creeks Division brought two "sewage-sniffing dogs" to help investigate storm drains in the City. Sable and Logan, along with their handlers Scott and Karen Reynolds of Environmental Canine Services, Inc. spent a week in Santa Barbara visiting known "hot spots" as well as exploring storm drains throughout the Laguna Watershed.
The dogs are trained to alert on the scent of human waste and detergents, and while visiting the Hope Avenue location, the dogs led City staff upstream to a broken sewer main at Hope Avenue which was leaking into the storm drain pipe below it. The broken sewer main was immediately repaired by the City Wastewater Division.