City says no to stench ‘cleanser’ at La Jolla Cove

Bird droppings on rocks near La Jolla Cove are causing visitors to clench their collective noses. Pat Sherman Photos

By Pat Sherman

A city employee said it is highly unlikely that a cleanser proposed to rid rocks at La Jolla Cove of their foul stench will be approved.

Addressing those in attendance at the May 21 meeting of the La Jolla Parks and Beaches advisory committee, Dan Daneri, a district manager for the city’s parks and recreation department, said he learned of the city’s decision the previous week.

Community members had proposed spraying a non-toxic agent derived from pomegranate and chia seeds to clean bird and marine mammal excrement on the rocks, which is causing the pervasive, foul odor.

“I just got the word; it’s coming from above me,” Daneri said, noting that a city biologist determined there is no way to spray the agent without potential environmental risks.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s safe,” Daneri added. “There’s a huge concern with the environmental impact of spraying around the water. You really can’t even walk down there and spray fresh water on those cliffs if it’s going to get in the (ocean). It’s storm water. The city of San Diego is on the hook for that. … The liability to the city — that’s what it’s coming down to.”

Committee member Melinda Merryweather said she spent four months working with city officials and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to get the spray approved.

“I’m only a volunteer,” she said. “I’m trying to solve a problem that this community has. During the summertime — coming very soon — there is a terrible, terrible odor out there that bothers everybody.”

Merryweather said NOAA was close to lending its approval to the spray, as long as it doesn’t disturb the sea lions.

“That remains to be seen,” Daneri said. “How you can spray above the high-tide line without disturbing those sea lions?”

Merryweather said a community member has volunteered to pay for the product and its application, noting that the stench-removing solution has been used at the Los Angeles Zoo and at San Diego’s Zoo’s Wild Animal Park.

Daneri said the difference is that those sites are closed systems.

“At the Wild Animal Park it was (sprayed in) a flamingo pond, which is a closed system,” he said. “There’s virtually no chance of that entering into the environment or the waterways — and that’s where the huge concern is coming over this.”

Daneri said a map he requested from Merryweather clearly defining the area to be sprayed was not sufficient.

“How are you going to mix the product?” he further questioned. “Where is it going to be mixed? … There’s a lot of stuff that hasn’t been addressed yet.”

Merryweather said she and other community members will continue fighting for a resolution to the sea rock stench.

“I guess we should print it in the paper that we have somebody who wants to pay for this and the city of San Diego is saying, ‘No, we don’t want it.’”

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Posted by Pat Sherman on Jun 5, 2012. Filed under Featured Story, La Jolla, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

4 Comments for “City says no to stench ‘cleanser’ at La Jolla Cove”

  1. CATT49

    God forbid is everyone a moron? High pressure water on the rocks will clean them, and who cares if it goes into the water. Birds and fish have been using the ocean for a toilet for millenia. The ocean can handle it and the lobster will love it. I grew up in La Jolla and my father before me. I regard La Jolla as my hometown and love it, but this is a ridiculous "problem", because it's not a problem. Get over it and yourselves.

  2. Dorota

    Ah, Melinda Merryweather, and her endless complaints about nature, please keep entertaining us with your ridiculous spills of hatred towards wildlife: harbor seals, sea lions, birds. What's next? Flowers? They smell too, you know…Thank you Dan Daneri for common sense approach.

  3. Peter

    So, how does it happen that after years of bird droppings washing into the sea without causing serious stench, all of a sudden this is a problem?

  4. Ann Van Buskirk

    Oh please, City of San Diego Decision Makers, GROW UP, MATURE, MAKE A TOUGH DECISION. I can't believe that the ocean is handling the BP spill in the gulf, the west coasts of California and Oregon are dealing with Japan's tsunami trash, all in the latest most technical, expensive, time consuming, labor intensive ways required. Meanwhile La Jolla has an environmental crisis of more epic proportions which carries risk beyond measure…to the ocean and to a small group of "dunt dunt DAH", sealions, seals and sea gulls.

    Facing down this environmentally potential tragedy is a San Diego Official, S/HE Who Cannot Be Named but merely identified as a "city biologist" who is saying no to a mixture of pomegranate juice and chia seeds to clean stomach roiling stink coming "naturally" to the rocks as a result of pooping seagulls and sea lions. While I am not the determinator of the ranking of species I do feel that since the area designated as dirty is called the CHILDRENS POOL, humans should have greater sovereignty than the doe-eyed sluglike creature who neither toils nor spins but rather eats poops pups and leaves a mess for humanity to endure or to clean up. But no, S/HE Who Cannot Be Named, would rather choose to err on the side of caution and against whatever whakadoodle with litigious mayhem on his/her mind might bring to bear over common sense solutions.

    Here's how real grown ups would deal with the situation. Unable to stand the noxious stench for days and weeks on end, concerned citzens found an organic method to clean up the poop, certified testing of the poop cleansers efficiency and environmental friendliness, and willing people to do the labor of said poop clean up, and further have the method and the labor paid for so as not to disturb the delicate balance of budget in the city biology office. But no. To quote Dan Danieri the city's park and recreation district manager, the one who cannot name S/HE Who Cannot Be Named, "You really cannot walk down there and spray fresh water in the ocean (because?) it's storm water and San Diego is on the hook for that."

    I don't think we are comparing pomegranates, chia seeds, and storm water correctly here. Grow up, everybody. Clean the rock and the beach so that people, HUMAN BEINGS who pay TAXES, can enjoy the PUBLIC SPACE without having to breath in the actual excrement let alone all the BS that's in the air discussing the reasons non-action is so important.

    While we do our best to make the sea lions comfortable, let's not make the sharks jealous. I mean all it will take is one great white or one smaller shark with a great appetite to create a much messier scene when one of them finally figures out this is where the buffet is. Of course you could always ask the seals if they mind a gentle bath of pomegranate and chia seeds, politely of course, don't want to offend, must be cautious. It's less invasive than trying to get them to potty train.

    Thanks go to Melinda Merryweather for all her long hours, persevering effort, calls, the research, and more to offer her neighbors and fellow beach walkers a fresh companionable solution to an ooky problem. Perhaps the naysayers should have to come down to the beach and sit in the hot sun and watch what happens to the businesses who are impacted by the stench. Maybe a place in the sun, near the pool, watching the endlessly fascinating creatures waddle this way and that way would lull the timid away from their political correctness and toward a working solution for all involved. Personally, my money's on the shark. Ann Van Buskirk

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