Builder Aids Storm-Water Runoff Effort

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That is what home builder Mike Reynolds is urging his subcontractors and homebuyers to do as part of a regional effort in San Diego to reduce storm drain pollution that eventually finds its way into coastal waters.

February 04, 2000
Avid surfer and San Diego home builder Mike Reynolds taping a public service announcement as part of regional anti-pollution campaign.

 

Think blue.

That is what home builder Mike Reynolds is urging his subcontractors and homebuyers to do as part of a regional effort in San Diego to reduce storm drain pollution that eventually finds its way into coastal waters.

Reynolds along with his brother and home building partner Neal have been avid surfers in the area for 35 years. During that period, the number of days each year when swimming and surfing are prohibited due to runoff pollution along the San Diego coast have gone from 10 to 75.

"Few people realize that pollutants dumped into storm drains flow untreated as contaminated runoff across the landscape through rivers, creeks and lagoons directly to drinking water sources such as lakes, reservoirs and eventually the ocean," says Reynolds.

The "Think Blue" awareness campaign is a public-private partnership launched last year. Reynolds Communities Inc. is the first home builder to join as a full partner with the City of San Diego, Caltrans, the Port of San Diego, the County of San Diego and a local television station to publicize the issue.

In addition to a $10,000 direct contribution to the program, Reynolds Communities--which has built over 3000 homes during its 25 years in business - is also spending thousands to educate its employees and subcontractors about the problem. They use a list of best management practices that will help keep cement wash, solvents, adhesives, septic wastes, glues and vehicle fluids away from storm water runoff areas.

In addition, people who buy Reynolds Communities homes each get a packet explaining local ordinances that prohibit storm drain pollution. A tip sheet in the mailer reminds homeowners not to spill automotive fluids, cleaning products, paints and solvents, pet waste and garden products into the drains.

Reynolds has also taken an extra step in the new-home communities it builds. On the sidewalk near all storm drains, Reynolds embeds an anti-pollution message on ceramic tiles that remind residents of the fines that can be levied against polluters. City and county officials like the idea so much that Reynolds will soon begin affixing the tiles near storm drains throughout the area. The tiles are $12 apiece and Reynolds is footing the bill.

"I am not doing this to be a PR stunt or something," says Mike Reynolds. "I mean if somebody does not start making this effort to start educating people about how we are just dumping everything into our ocean, I hate to think of what the situation will be like in the future."

The project is indeed personal, Reynolds says, noting that some of his surfing friends have become ill to the point of hospitalization from riding polluted waves. It is a level commitment that comes through during a TV public service announcement Reynolds taped and is frequently aired throughout San Diego.

The PSA features Reynolds, holding a surfboard on La Jolla Beach talking about the storm water runoff problem.

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