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  • Suresh Venkatraman

Part of the “Solution to Creek Pollution”: GreenTown Cleans Permanente Creek

Join Us on Coastal Cleanup Day – September 15

Volunteers, led by Barbara and Kevin O’Reilly, scour the Permanente Creek Diversion Channel for trash twice a year: once on National River Cleanup Day (the third Saturday in May) and once on Coastal Cleanup Day (the third Saturday in September). Our next creek cleanup is fast approaching. Sign up here to participate from 9am-noon on Saturday, September 15.

At the last cleanup, on May 19, volunteers collected a total of 69 pounds of material. Of that, 54 pounds was diverted from the landfill – about two-thirds recycled and composted and one-third repurposed by participants. A mere 15 pounds of material went to the landfill as trash.

Most cleanup efforts end up leaving collected material at the site, which are then picked up by the water utility, and dumped at the landfill.  Of the more than 18,000 lbs of trash collected in cleanups throughout Santa Clara County on May 19, fewer than 1,500 pounds were recycled. GreenTown cleanup crews, under the stewardship of the O’Reilly’s, sort and divert as much material from the landfill as possible.

May’s cleanup also featured education about bugs — insects that tell you if a creek is healthy or not.  GreenTown partnered with Acterra’s Stevens and Permanente Creek Watershed Project to provide education to participants.  As part of his Environmental Science class, Nick Ambiel, a student at Los Altos High School student, collected and investigated samples from the natural portion of the creek.  Not surprisingly, given Permanente Creek’s not-so-permanent nature, Nick found midge flies and other bugs that suggest a not-so-healthy creek.

For more information on how you can be part of the “solution to creek pollution,” email us at

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