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NEWS | Jan. 31, 2017

Basura Bash looks to clean out waterways around JBSA-Fort Sam Houston

By Steve Elliott 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The Basura Bash is a one-day, all-volunteer event to clean the San Antonio Watershed. Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston will be hosting an event beginning at 8 a.m. Feb. 18 at the Salado Creek Park.

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.

Polluted storm water runoff can have many adverse effects on plants, fish, animals and people.

Sediment can cloud the water and make it difficult or impossible for aquatic plants to grow. Sediments also fill up the storage capacity of our reservoirs and can destroy aquatic habitats.

Last year, hundreds of volunteers pulled more than two tons of various kinds of rubbish out of the creek and from throughout the park area, almost filling a 40-yard-long dumpster to the top.

“We at the 502nd Civil Engineer Squadron environmental section are spearheading JBSA’s participation. The event brings together a diverse group of volunteers, from JBSA’s own Girl and Boy Scouts and Randolph and Cole High Schools’ students, to active duty members and veterans,” said Mike Tillema, 502nd CES environmental engineering and this year’s event organizer. “We are anticipating a significant turnout.”

A light breakfast will be provided by the City of San Antonio for those who register online. Due to the lengthy stretch of creek to be cleaned up, including denser brush, it is recommended that volunteers wear long pants, sturdy shoes or boots, and bring bug repellent.

“Kayaks will be available thanks to outdoor recreation to those adventurous volunteers who wish to clean up from the source on the creek itself,” Tillema said. “Gloves and bags will be provided and there will be live music.”

The JBSA-Fort Sam Houston Basura Bash is a part of a larger effort throughout San Antonio where lo­cal residents, community groups and organizations collect trash at 20 different locations connected to San Antonio’s watershed.

For more information and registration, go to http://www.basurabash.org/ or call 221-1142.