JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas —
Hundreds of volunteers turned out for the annual Basura Bash Feb. 17 as part of a community effort to help clean out an important waterway which runs through Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston. The Basura Bash is a one-day, all-volunteer event to clean the San Antonio Watershed.
On an overcast morning, the volunteers first received a safety briefing and encouraging words from Army Col. Lee Flemming, 502nd Air Base Wing and JBSA vice commander, before tackling the different areas of the creek and surrounding areas as part of the annual Basura Bash, now in its eighth year.
"We're very glad to have you out here today," Flemming said. "A lot of trash washes downstream from other areas, so this cleanup effort is absolutely vital."
A steady flow of volunteers came and went from the park area throughout the morning, each determined to be a part of something bigger than themselves and make a difference in the appearance of the creek and park areas. Entire families made a morning of the event. Troops of Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts dug in and got busy picking up trash from all corners of the park. The military was well represented with hundreds of Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen working throughout the morning to clear out a year's worth of accumulated debris.
The effects of storm water runoff are one reason the Basura Bash creek clean-up is necessary. Storm water runoff occurs when precipitation comes down faster than our soils can soak it up and this rain flows over the ground. Impervious surfaces like driveways, sidewalks and streets prevent stormwater runoff from naturally soaking into the ground.
Storm water can pick up debris, chemicals, dirt and other pollutants before it flows into a storm sewer system or directly to a lake, stream, river, wetland or coastal waterway. Anything that enters a storm sewer system is discharged, untreated, into the bodies of water we use for swimming, fishing and providing drinking water.
The JBSA-Fort Sam Houston Basura Bash was a part of a larger effort throughout San Antonio that saw local residents, community groups and organizations collecting trash from 8 a.m. to noon Feb. 17 at 20 different locations that connect to San Antonio’s watershed.