The area of Huntington Beach was originally occupied by the Tongva people, also known as Gabrielinos, whose lands stretched from what is now Topanga Canyon through Aliso Creek in Laguna Beach. European settlement can be traced to Spanish soldier, Manuel Nieto, who in 1784 received a Spanish land grant of 300,000 acres, which he named Rancho Los Nietos, as a reward for his military service. The Stearns Rancho Company ran cattle and horses and raised barley crops on what is now the city of HB. In the early 1800’s a portion of property was sold to Col. Robert Northam, who raised and sold barley to surrounding ranchers. By 1889, the city was called Shell Beach and consisted of a small group of settlers. In 1901, Shell Beach was changed to Pacific City when P.A. Stanton formed a local syndicate and purchased 40 acres along the beach with 20 acres on each side of Main Street. Stanton’s dream was to build a town on the Pacific Coast which would rival Atlantic City on the East Coast.
Huntington Beach incorporated in 1909 under its first mayor, Ed Manning. Its original developer was the Huntington Beach Company, a real-estate development firm owned by Henry Huntington, a railroad magnate after whom the city is named. The Huntington Company is still a major land-owner in the city. Huntington Beach remained a sleepy seaside town until the famous oil boom in the 1920’s.
The initial growth of the city began with the oil boom in 1920. This was the largest California oil deposit known at the time. Wells sprang up overnight and in less than a month the town grew from 1,500 to 5,000 people. After a final oil strike in 1953, the fire department began clearing out oil derricks within the city and along the coast to make room for the population explosion that began in the 1950’s. Beginning in the late 1950’s and continuing into the 1960’s and 1970’s, residents by the thousands moved into the City. Huntington Beach became the fastest growing city in the continental U.S. as housing tract after housing tract were built. In the 1970’s and 1980’s oil production rigs were concealed to improve the beach’s image. Forty years ago, Donald Douglas Jr. acquired the bean fields across from the current U.S. Weapons Station bordering Bolsa Chica in HB. He began building the Douglas Aircraft Space Systems Center. The plant produced the upper stage of the Saturn V rocket that took the Apollo astronauts on their successful mission to the moon. Douglas aircraft became McDonnell Douglas, and in the 1990’s Boeing purchased the combined firms. Today Boeing is one of the largest employers in HB.
In 1925, Duke Kahanamoku brought the sport of surfing to Huntington Beach and the Southern California shores. The city’s first surf shop, Gordie’s Surf Boards, opened in 1953. Six years later, the first U.S. Surfing Championships were held in Huntington Beach. The following year, the Surfing Championships were covered on television, which rocketed Huntington Beach’s international fame as a surfer’s paradise. In 2005, the USA Surf Team adopted Huntington Beach as its official home and the Association of Surfing Professionals-North America moved to the city.
The City’s water supply is a blend of groundwater from 7 City wells and 3 imported water connections originating from Northern California and the Colorado River by MWDSC via the Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC). Groundwater comes from a natural underground aquifer that is replenished with water from the Santa Ana River, local rainfall, Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) recycled water, and imported water. The groundwater basin, which is managed by OCWD, is about 350 square miles. It lies beneath north and central Orange County, from Irvine to the Los Angeles County border and from Yorba Linda to the Pacific Ocean. More than 19 cities and retail water districts draw from the basin to provide water to homes and businesses.
In 2018, the City of Huntington Beach water consisted of 77% local groundwater and 23% imported treated surface water. Huntington Beach also has emergency water connections with the neighboring cities of Fountain Valley, Seal Beach, and Westminster.
The sources of drinking water (both tap water and bottled water) include rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, reservoirs, springs and wells. As water travels over the
the surface of the land or through the layers of the ground it dissolves naturally-occurring minerals and, in some cases, radioactive material, and can pick up substances resulting from the presence of animal and human activity.
Contaminants that may be present in source water include:
Pesticides and herbicides, which may come from a variety of sources such as agriculture, urban stormwater runoff, and residential uses.
Microbial contaminants, such as viruses and bacteria, which may come from sewage treatment
plants, septic systems, agricultural livestock operations, and wildlife.
Radioactive contaminants, which can be naturally occurring or be the result of oil and gas production or mining activities.
Inorganic contaminants, such as salts and metals, which can be naturally occurring or result from urban storm runoff, industrial or domestic wastewater discharges, oil and gas production, mining and farming.
Organic chemical contaminants, including synthetic and volatile organic chemicals, which are by-products of industrial processes and petroleum production, and can also come from gasoline stations, urban stormwater runoff, agricultural application, and septic systems
Fix leaky faucets. For every leak stopped, you can save 20 gallons of water per day.
Develop a watering schedule for your irrigation system. To learn more, visit www.bewaterwise.com/calculator.html.
Use native plants in your landscaping. Planting and maintaining beautiful California native and water-friendly plants can save between 1,000 and 1,800 gallons per month.
Install a high-efficiency toilet or clothes washer. Atemporary rebate program is still available. Other rebates are also available for sprinklers and artificialturf. To learn more, visitwww.ocwatersmart.com.
MWDSC has its own water conservation website. To find out more information on water saving plants and other useful tips, visit www.bewaterwise.com.
HUNTINGTON BEACH RESIDENTS should make sure that their plumbing systems are in good working order and are leak free. This is important, not only for saving money on you water bill and limiting damages to property, but it is our responsibility to provide clean freshwater for future generations.
DID YOU KNOW?
Sewer Lateral Program Policy and Procedure
Effective January 3, 2008, the City instituted a new policy regarding the repair and maintenance of sewer lateral lines. From this date forward, the City will be responsible for the portion of all sewer laterals from the City-owned sewer main through the public right-of-way to the private property line. The property owner will remain responsible for all costs of repair and maintenance of that portion of the sewer lateral on private property.
Sewer Lateral Program Procedure:
Questions regarding the Sewer Lateral Program should be directed to the Public Works Utilities Division at 714-536-5921.
*Please note – the first course of action for a blocked or clogged sewer line is a call to a qualified plumber or sewer contractor. Often times, cleaning of the line is needed immediately and residents should not wait for the claim process to be completed. The need for frequent cleaning/rooting of the line is an indication of a possible sewer lateral break or tree root intrusion
Stormwater is water from rain that does not soak into the ground. It flows over paved areas like streets, sidewalks, and parking lots, as well as roofs and sloped lawns. As it flows, the stormwater collects and carries pollutants such as litter, pet waste, pesticides, fertilizers, and motor oil. This “toxic soup” then flows through a massive system of pipes and channels directly into our local waterways and the ocean.
What is the difference between the storm drain system and the sanitary sewer system?
The storm drain system and sanitary sewer system are both large conveyance systems of underground pipes. This leads to the misconception that the systems are one and the same. They are in fact separated and serve different purposes.
The sanitary sewer system transports domestic sewage to a treatment plant. Domestic sewage includes wastewater from household and commercial plumbing, such as toilets, showers, and sinks. There, contaminants are removed from the sewage through a multi-stage process, which includes settling, filtering, and biological and chemical treatment. The treated water is then discharged into local waterways or used as reclaimed water.
The storm drain system, on the other hand, was designed to prevent cities from flooding. Its purpose is to quickly transport rain runoff (stormwater) away from the city and into the nearest waterway, without treatment. And so, any pollution carried by stormwater also enters our waterways untreated.
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