Ocean Beach Could Wash Away into Sea

By Matt Baume
|  Wednesday, Jan 26, 2011  |  Updated 6:15 AM PDT
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Ocean Beach Could Wash Away into Sea

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So long, sand: the creatively-named Ocean Beach is teetering on the brink of vanishing.

The problem is that the sandy expanse isn't supposed to be there at all. It's an artificial beach, created by regularly dumping sand where waves should be. If the natural erosion of the sea was allowed to run its course, San Francisco's shoreline would move all the way in to the Sunset.

But there's some pretty important infrastructure under the ground near the beach -- for example, a sewage line that carries a third of San Francisco's wastewater, according to SF Weekly. If the ground is allowed to wash away, sewage would start leaking into the ocean.

Moving the pipes is too expensive, so the city wants to firm up the ground. But that could make things even worse.

One possible solution could be to simply shift the underwater sand that sits just offshore. By placing the underwater sand in a strategic spot, it might replenish the beach as other sand is eroded. Tests have begun, and a large-scale implementation could begin as soon as next year.

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