Incoming storms expected to bring trash, debris to Ocean Beach and other waterways

It was the calm before the storm at San Francisco's Ocean Beach on Friday.

With an atmospheric river forecast for the weekend, Friday's clear weather was a good reason to let the dogs out and get some exercise for many. 

For Monique Kitayama, she noticed lots of trash on the beach after the many rainstorms this season. She said occasionally, when she’s surfing, "I’ll see a bigger piece of trash in the ocean float by. There’s lots of wood during the storms in winter, but it’s all on the beach." 


Cloudy Bay Area skies are the calm before weekend's upcoming storms

Cloudy skies, typical of Bay Area winters, will lead up to the next storm which is expected to hit Northern California this weekend.

Paul Korntheuer has lived in the city for over 35 years.

Carrying a trash grabber and a plastic bag, he was out doing his part, cleaning up small, colorful plastic pieces of trash.

"Not so much on the cigarette butts, but with my trash grabber, I’ve collected needles. Other stuff? Usually, plastic. Sometimes it's soft plastic, hard plastic, or foam," he said.

Many would agree, cleaning the beach of trash is like emptying the ocean with a spoon. But every effort counts.

Korntheuer said, "It doesn’t need to be an organized event. It can be an individual event. Just a bag and a $20 picker upper is all I need and maybe a little music in the headphones as I work."

This upcoming storm event, will no doubt add to the debris flow. 

Trash will end up in the ocean or on the beach.

San Francisco is unique in that its storm and sewage water are both treated before anything gets released into the ocean.


California's chain of storms continue, replenishing reservoirs

While intense snow and rain can be a serious challenge, the ⁠⁠silver lining is the color of abundant clear, clean water.

Mitayama said, "The level of trash that gets dumped out to sea is the size of Texas. We’re seeing a lot of trash this winter." 

Korntheuer said, "Tomorrow the rain will be back, but so will the garbage, sadly. So, we’ll just pick up half a bag of garbage today, and it will be one less bit of garbage in the Bay tomorrow."

Alice Wertz is a freelance reporter with KTVU Fox 2 News. She can be reached at