Community News

Huntington Beach Happenings

by: Chris MacDonald
Published: May 22, 2023


HUNTINGTON BEACH...Happy Birthday to Huntington Beach Refuge Calvary Chapel Children's Ministry Volunteer Diana Brinkley.

Huntington Beach Planning Commission Chair Tracy Pellman Said: The City of Huntington Beach Planning Commission meeting of May 23, 2023 has been CANCELLED. The next tentatively scheduled meeting is June 13, 2023.

Huntington Beach City Clerk Robin Estanislau Said: Here is a link to the previous Huntington Beach City Council Meeting Video from 5/16/2023.

Surf City Store Owner Tina Viray Said: We are gearing up for summer with new products and clothing designs. Come see them all on The Huntington Beach Pier.

Huntington Beach City Historian Jerry Person Said: Remembering When -

Winter rains brought waste and sewage to Huntington Beach

I'm sure we all remember the oil pipe leak that caused beach closures and the problems of and raw sewage entering our clear, blue Pacific Ocean around Newport, Huntington Harbour. 

This year’s winter rains sure flooded our streets, but it was the rain water from our sister cities that brought trash and debris unto our beautiful beaches that the volunteers cleaned up on Earth Day 2023.

This week, we'll look at an earlier sewage problem and how a small group of irate residents responded. 

It was in the 1930s that  Huntington Beach was the dumping grounds for many of our neighboring cities in Orange County. Cities such as Anaheim, Buena Park, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Orange and Santa Ana sent their waste into the county's sewer line that emptied into the ocean north of the Santa Ana River.
The huge storms of 1937 and 1938 broke open the main line, pouring raw sewage
 into the Santa Ana River and flooding many acres of our lowlands nearby. Many of
 our residents complained to Orange County's health department about the intolerable stench, but no action was taken.

A public uproar occurred in council chambers across the county because something like this could happen here. 

Minnie Higgins, a pioneer Huntington Beach resident  took up the challenge to stop the dumping. On Nov. 8, 1939, Higgins called for a town meeting at Memorial Hall to discuss the growing condition. 

Several of our early residents spoke up. 

Mrs. Daubendick, who lived on California Street, told the committee of how she lost her renters because of the foul odors. A county supervisor who also lived in Huntington Beach told Higgins and the other committee members that the supervisors had the matter under discussion. Right! 

Newport Beach's city engineer told the committee it was not his problem. Anaheim's city engineer told the committee his city had had partial success in treating its sewage. City Engineer George Bates of Placentia told of how he had spent 30 years studying the problem and thought the problem came from the citrus waste water.

Huntington Beach's own councilman, Lee Chamnes, thought it came from the Holly Sugar factory here. Huntington Beach Mayor Marcus McCallen told the committee that something would be done. Huntington Beach City Clerk Charles Furr proposed that the committee pass a resolution, get 5,000 signatures and present it to the state's board of health.
A city delegation headed by McCallen, Furr and Chamber of Commerce Secretary Bill Gallienne traveled to Los Angeles in late November 1939 and, like Martin Luther, presented the city's grievances to the state board. 

On Jan. 1, 1940, the State Board of Health ordered that the right to pump sewage through the county's sewer line and into the mouth of the Santa Ana River be revoked. 

This small irate band of concerned residents led by Higgins faced down big government and won and in the end, made our coasts and surrounding beaches beautiful to see -- and smell.


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