Orange County Public Works released eye-popping figures Thursday, March 8, on the total amount of debris, needles and hazardous waste removed when crews cleaned up the area along the Santa Ana River Trail once populated by the encampments of homeless people.
Here’s what was collected between Jan. 22 and March 3 from a more than two-mile stretch of bike trail roughly from I-5 in Orange to Ball Road in Anaheim, according to OC Public Works spokesman Shannon Widor:
- 404 tons of debris
- 13,950 needles
- 5,279 pounds of hazardous waste (human waste)
Before and after photographs published by the Register last week show stark differences at different spots along the trail, as does a video the county posted Feb. 28 on YouTube.
More than 700 people were living in the encampments when they were dismantled in late February. Most of those people are being housed temporarily in local motels while county outreach workers assess their need for services and housing.
The bike trail cleanup is the beginning of an environmental remediation effort that was expected to include the removal of 2 to 3 inches of soil in the project area and tree trimming. Planned improvements on the bike trail from Katella to Ball Road/Taft Avenue also could include sealing cracks and applying a slurry seal, Widor said.