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SRP working to drain, clear out junk from Valley canals

Posted at 4:53 PM, Nov 29, 2018

Cleaning out Valley canals is a dirty job, but a vital one to keep the water flowing to your faucet and it’s shocking to see what lies just beneath the surface.

Gary Swinford has been cleaning out East Valley canals with Salt River Project for years, and he's seen it all, even uncovering a car or two.

“We've got furniture, couches, sofas,” said Swinford. “We found a Volkswagen; you name it, it's been in there.”

Once a year, SRP takes 30 days to clean out miles of canals, the focus this time is an 8-mile stretch cutting right through Mesa.

From sludge to scooters, it's all got to go, even the ditched guns — crews digging out two of them in just the last two weeks.

“The police department is notified, they come right out and pick it up, and we go on about our businesses,” said Swinford.

It's a dirty job, but one that keeps the water flowing smoothly through the East Valley.

“By removing this we make sure that the canal stays full and the water goes through as easy at it can, and we have the capacity we need to deliver to our customers,” said Swinford.

Countless shopping carts, street signs, and trash; illegal dumping can land you a $15,000 fine and keep in mind what you throw in the canal may be touching the water that you are drinking someday.

“This all goes to people's yards, or it goes to the faucet through water treatment plants, and it’s a vital part of Arizona,” said Swinford.

Crews will be in the East Valley cleaning up the canals south of the Salt River through mid-December before moving north of the Salt River in January.

If you use the canals as a walking path, SRP asks that you be on the lookout for heavy equipment.