Roger Castillo, who monitors South Bay rivers, examines Bird scooters pulled from the Guadalupe River in April 2019.

Matt Bigler/KCBS Radio

E-Scooters Piling Up In South Bay Waterways

Matt Bigler
April 18, 2019 - 2:17 pm

SAN JOSE — Besides store fronts and sidewalks, e-scooters are now being found in the Guadalupe River here in downtown San Jose. 

Roger Castillo, who's monitored South Bay rivers for more than 30 years, said he's found nearly 20 scooters from companies like Bird and Lime in shallow water. Many of them were broken into pieces. 

"They get filled with sand, water and, of course, they're shorted out," said Castillo. 

He suspects that many more have sunk in deeper parts of the waterway, which raises concerns about possible pollution. 

"There's lithium batteries in these things," said Catillo. "They are toxic." 

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Many of the scooters are being washed out of homeless encampments, while others are discarded after being chopped up and sold for their components, according to Castillo's theory. 

San Jose officials acknowledge recovering 37 electric scooters in waterways. 

"We can work directly with the scooter companies and make sure that they're taking responsibility for their devices," said Transportaiton Department spokesman Colin Heyne. 

Once the city's scooter permitting process is completed, companies will be required to respond to complaints about the devices within two hours or face fines, Heyne.said.