Storm Drain Cleanup Volunteering

Storm Drain Cleanup Volunteering

This morning, on Juneteenth, we volunteered with Ocean Defenders Alliance to clean the storm drains running through downtown Fullerton. Local member of the ODA, and my friend from Freeman Yoga days, Karla, lives in the Jacaranda neighborhood and sponsors the channel along Chapman from Malden to Woods.

I started the day with a heavy dose of Citronella Spray to ward off the mosquitos who love to breed in this water. It was full wall to wall, which was unusual for the summer, and several inches deep throughout. Luckily, the water was flowing and I didn't see more than just gnats. But the spray also keeps wolverines at bay, so I am glad I wore it.

We were joined by AG community member Meghan, Kathy Aguiar of The Yoga Nest (also Freeman connection) and her son, and several yoga students from her current teaching.

The bridge above frequently had a resident unhoused person. They seem to no longer be there, but, it was a reminder of how easy it is to go through our daily lives without seeing the homeless problem of Fullerton right outside our doors.

Karla explained how in beach cleanups, mostly the item are small bits of plastic and other trash which has broken down. This channel drains directly to Long Beach and is full of large items like whole cups, grocery bags, and takeout containers before they wash down in the rain.

As I carried bucket after bucket (repurposed soap oil and lye 5 gallon buckets, from the shop), I imagined how many small pieces it would have ended up being miles later. Our impact was so much more in this spot and had it made it to the coast, would have taken more people and hours to clean!

Some of the refuse is innocent, like a frisbee and countless sports balls. But some items, like beer bottles and vape cartridges were just plain irritating. The fast food containers, especially plastic and styrofoam (why is this still a thing???) made me wish for more widespread use of paper containers and corn plastic items. At least if that is litter, it's not going to become microplastics.

But, I did get a unique view of my hometown, such as the photo above of the Fox.

Karla (left), Kathy, and me!


I came home with a new appreciation for Karla an her cleanups! We accomplished a lot in an hour but she is still going to sort the trash to recycle and dispose of it. Keep on our socials to join next time (on a weekend). I also took the time to have a nice hot shower with my soap and a scrubby bag (more plugs, but we are a business!)


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