Sand-clogged sink drains an issue for state parks

Sand-clogged sink drains an issue for state parks
California State Parks superintendent Robin Greene says the state has had to shut down several sinks at the county’s state beaches due to clogged drains from sand, a byproduct of the state’s shower shutoff water-conservation efforts. Photo by Tony Cagala

REGION — A state parks official is urging the public to not rinse off sand in sinks and toilets at the local beaches, which has become a byproduct of the state’s shower shutoff water-conservation efforts.

California State Parks superintendent Robin Greene said the state has had to shut down several sinks at the county’s state beaches due to clogged drains from sand.

The sand can cause bigger problems, Greene said: excessive sand in toilet and sink pipes has led to plumbing failure at several bathrooms, sending sewage into the ocean.

And with beach visits continuing to remain high as the region has been experiencing record-breaking temperatures into October, Greene said the message is still very important.

“It’s a very serious issue,” Greene said. “Sinks and toilets were not built to trap sand.”

Beach goers have been resorting to cleaning off sand in unorthodox ways since the state announced this summer that it would be shutting off showers in an effort to conserve water during the drought.

Greene said there have been reports of people using toilets to clean off infants after beach visits. As a result, Greene said, the state has shut off several sinks and toilets at beaches.

“Shutting off sinks was never part of our plans, but we’ve been forced into that position because of the misuse of the sinks,” Greene said. “If we can get people to stop using the sinks to rinse sand off, we will turn them back on.”

Locally, some cities have taken the state’s cue to shut off showers only to turn them back on after experiencing similar issues.

In Del Mar, officials turned back on the showers at the Powerhouse Community Center after experiencing a spike in plumbing and maintenance costs when people started using drinking fountains and sinks to rinse off their feet and bodies.

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