SALINAS, Calif.- The Salinas Valley river is part of what makes the valley one of the most productive agricultural regions in California. Now, the city of Salinas is taking some heat for not following stormwater management rules set by the state.
It's an issue affecting not only the river but puts your streets, homes and businesses in flood danger.
The city says these storm drains are part of the problem. The state requires cities to manage what goes down these drains. And with out the money to make them better, the state can continue to write the city violations.
"Leaves plug the grates and it produces that flooding at intersections and flooding of homes and businesses which we can't allow that to happen. So, we lift the grates to create a better flow to keep the water moving."
The Central Coast State Regional Water Quality Control Board says it regularly monitors the city of Salinas and the rest of Monterey County, for proper execution of its storm water run-off.
This time the state found the city of Salinas had 7 violations.
City leaders say they're doing the best they can with no money from the state to follow the law. Central Coast News reported last week that the infrastructure fix-it list sits at $600 million, and the city's total budget is $83 million.
"The development standards for when people build things in the city, around construction projects in the city have gotten a lot more complex."
The city says one major problem are the number of leaves that pile up in a drain.
Public Works director Gary Petersen says the city is already spending $3-4 million this year to manage storm water and the state audit says improvements have been made.
Petersen says money has been set aside to fix the old drains, "This is something that is an ongoing problem, but it's also important to understand that those drains that are problematic represent less than 2 percent of the total drains we have."
The city says it's never been issued violations that have cost taxpayers any money, and Petersen says he hopes it never gets to that point.