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Environmentalists Frustrated By San Diego Bay Cleanup Delays

A plan to clean up San Diego Bay has been talked about for years. Environmental groups are frustrated because there's been more talking and no cleaning. KPBS reporter Ed Joyce explains.

Environmentalists Frustrated By San Diego Bay Cleanup Delays

A plan to clean up San Diego Bay has been talked about for years. Environmental groups are frustrated because there's been more talking and no cleaning. KPBS reporter Ed Joyce explains.

The San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board ordered a clean up for the city's bay two years ago. But so far there's been no final plan to remove contaminated sediment in the southern portion of the bay near the NASSCO shipyards. San Diego Coastkeeper Executive Director Bruce Reznik calls the lack of action an “embarrassment.”

Reznik : The board has just bungled itself along, bungled its way along. And at each step, they just get deeper and deeper into a quagmire that they don't know how to get out of.

The water board says it takes time to complete such a large cleanup project. Supervising engineer David Barker is overseeing the bay cleanup order. He says the city of San Diego, the Navy, along with oil and shipbuilding companies, could all pay part of the cleanup costs if they're found responsible for the pollution.

Barker : The costs range anywhere from $900,000 all the way up to $122 million based on the stringency of the cleanup that may be required.

Barker says an updated cleanup plan will be released in November. After a nine-month public comment period, the final order should be issued in July 2008. Decades of industrial activities and urban runoff are blamed for polluting the bay.

Ed Joyce, KPBS News.