Urban Watch in Capitola is a dry weather monitoring program geared at measuring the presence of common urban pollutants. Used to keep our households clean, products like chlorine and detergents can be very harmful to an aquatic environment, particularly fish and bugs. We can stop these pollutants easily, by following best management practices for pools and spa, and not discharging water used for cleaning into the storm drain system.

Almost every week, CWC staff and citizen science volunteers test water samples from storm drains and Soquel Creek for chlorine. A chlorine tablet is dissolved in test tube of sample water. If there are detectable levels of chlorine in the water, this solution will turn pink. The deeper the shade of pink the more chlorine, measured in part per million. Over the past 6 weeks of sampling, the water has been so clean that we have barely seen a hint of pink, indicating chlorine is below 0.2 parts per million. Sometimes, we joke about how we would like to see a bright pink solution, just for change, that all this transparent water is boring. Then we remind ourselves that no pink is good news!

Hats off to you, Capitola, for keeping chlorine out of your watershed! And many thanks to the City of Capitola for their wonderful work in educating for a healthy watershed and for funding this Urban Watch study.

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