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Dec 12

2014 Coastal Cleanup Day Results

Posted on December 12, 2014 at 6:11 PM by Janet Hayes

Coastal Cleanup Day crewOn Saturday, September 20th, Clean Creeks, Healthy Communities (CCHC) hosted a site for Coastal Cleanup Day (CCD) on Coyote Creek at the intersection of Phelan Avenue and Roberts Avenue just next to Yerba Buena High School. Now in its 20th year, CCD is the world’s largest single-day volunteer event. In California, more than 54,000 volunteers gathered at over 850 sites for this day of service. In Santa Clara County alone, there were 47 sites which hosted almost 1,500 volunteers. Together, these volunteers cleaned 53 miles of waterways and collected almost 40,000 pounds (20 tons!) of trash. CCHC had 29 volunteers who donated 81 hours of time and picked up approximately 1750 pounds of trash – wow!

cleanup trash pileAlthough San José is not necessarily on the coast, the work that our volunteers have done remains just as crucial to the health of our coasts and shorelines. Data from past California Coastal Commission cleanups has indicated that anywhere between 60-80% of debris on our beaches and shorelines is made up of single-use disposable plastic items that originate on land, traveling through storm drains, creeks, or rivers to the beaches and oceans – items like plastic utensils, food wrappers, bottle caps, plastic bags, etc.

This figure shows how intimately all of our waterways are connected, no matter the distance from the coast. It also shows that all of our efforts, whether inland or on the coast, are all an important part of keeping our coasts clean and that no effort is too small. This is something that our volunteers understand and are passionate about as this CCD was by far the strongest showing ever of volunteers and trash collected. So a big thank you to all of those volunteers who came out to make a difference not only in their local San José community but also helped keep California coasts and beaches beautiful and trash-free!
Dec 12

You Are the Solution to Water Pollution

Posted on December 12, 2014 at 6:37 PM by Janet Hayes

San José’s Watershed Protection Pollution Prevention Team offers seven actions we all can take to help protect our beautiful creeks and the San Francisco Bay from water pollution.

  1. Properly dispose of Household Hazardous Waste
    To enhance energy efficiency, you may have already installed compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) at home. Since CFLs contain mercury, you may wonder what to do when the bulb eventually burns out. These bulbs must be disposed of as household hazardous waste (HHW). A list of local hardware stores that accept them is available on the HHW web site. Many other common household products are considered HHW. Items like mercury thermometers, batteries, cleaners, paints, solvents, motor oil, and thermostats must be disposed of properly at a HHW collection facility to prevent contamination of local waterways. To make a drop-off appointment or learn more, visit the Santa Clara County HHW Program website at or call (408) 299-7300 or (800) 207-8222.
  2. Safely Dispose of Unwanted Medications
    Do you have unwanted or expired medications at home? Find a location to dispose of them properly at one of the fifteen permanent collection bins at The number of bins will soon grow to 65 since the California Product Stewardship Council has received a grant from the Santa Clara Valley Water District and is working in partnership with the City of San José and the County of Santa Clara are working to establish an additional 50 take-back locations throughout the County in the next year. Never flush medications down the drain. Our local wastewater treatment facility may not be able to remove all of the dissolved ingredients, resulting in them potentially flowing directly to the Bay.
  3. Dispose of Grease from the Pan to the Can
    After cooking a delicious meal, scrape leftover fats, oils, or grease into a can or jar, and then place it in the garbage. Grease cools as it moves through the pipes and eventually congeals into a solid mass so never pour grease down the drain where it can cause blockages.
  4. Wipes Clog Pipes – Put them in the Trash
    Cleaning wipes, baby wipes, and “flushable” wipes are so convenient, but how should you dispose of them? The answer: put them in the garbage. Even wipes labeled “flushable” should not be flushed down the toilet because they don’t break down readily like toilet paper. They remain intact as they travel through the sewer system where they can catch on roots and debris and eventually lead to clogs.
  5. Wash your Car at a Commercial Car Wash
    Commercial wash rinse water is recycled. Parts of cars that are designed to wear off with use (such as tires and brake pads) leave toxic residue on the roadway that can result in storm water pollution. Regular washes at a commercial car wash minimize what gets washed down the storm drain. Visit San José’s Pollution Prevention website for additional Auto Maintenance Tips.
  6. Choose Non-Toxic or Less Toxic Cleaning and Personal Care Products
    Many cleaning or personal care products may contain harsh chemicals, which can mix with other chemicals present in the sanitary sewer. There they can form toxic compounds that flow to the San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility and negatively impact the treatment processes. Some chemicals can also pass through to the Bay and hurt organisms and vegetation. Compare labels to buy eco-friendly products or make your own at home. Check out these cleaning solution recipes.
  7. Choose Non-toxic or Less Toxic Gardening Products
    Garden and yard chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers flow into storm drains, streams and the Bay during storms or though excess irrigation. They can affect the health of fish, wildlife and people. Reduce the use of these chemicals by adopting holistic approaches towards sustainable gardening. View more gardening tips.
Dec 02

Art Box Festival Lights Up Bestor Art Park

Posted on December 2, 2014 at 12:00 AM by Janet Hayes

On Friday, September 5th, Clean Creeks, Healthy Communities in partnership with the Spartan Keyes Neighborhood Association and CommUniverCity presented the Martha Gardens / Spartan Keyes Art Box Festival. The celebration started off with a community park day. Residents were invited to Bestor Art Park to enjoy free food, music, and entertainment before the Art Arc Gallery opened. Once the sun started going down, the lights in the gallery lit up to display photographs of the six new art boxes that have been commissioned by local artists for the Spartan Keyes and San José community.

Although the exhibit is now over, we invite you to grab a few friends for an urban art tour. Listed below are the fabulous artists and the locations of their art boxes. Take a picture on Instagram and share it with us by tagging this hashtag #CCHCArtBox.
  • Laurus Myth – 10th Street and Keyes Street
  • John Cloud – 19th Street and Santa Clara Street
  • Monika Rose – Senter Road and Alma Street
  • Paul J. Gonzalez – 7th Street and Martha
  • Scott Willis – Story Road HHPZ Entrance
  • Carrie Lyons – Tully Road and Galveston Avenue

Art box photography on display in Bestor Art Park.


Art box photography on display in the Bestor Art Park Gallery.