City of Los Angeles Stormwater Program » Stormwater Projects LA's Watershed Protection Program Wed, 02 Sep 2015 22:49:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Ballona Creek Draft EWMP Appendix 4C Tue, 11 Aug 2015 18:20:53 +0000 0 Preparing for El Niño and El Monstruo Mon, 03 Aug 2015 17:18:17 +0000 It’s been almost two decades since the last strong El Niño, but in the wake of Tropical Storm Dolores that dumped record-breaking amounts of rain on Los Angeles last month, many are speculating that our region’s next El Niño may already be here. Talk to experts and you’ll hear that the weather phenomenon sports a dual personality. El Niño may bring much-needed drought relief to our state, but it could also mean El Monstruo-type storms creating disastrous flooding and mudslides. With those type of predictions, now is the time to start prepping for both!  The City of Los Angeles is already taking steps to prepare its personnel, equipment and facilities for winter rains. Here are four ways that you can prepare your home and neighborhood:

  1. Prepare Your Property. includes tips for preparing your home for wet weather. They include things like clearing debris, picking up any trash in the gutter and obtaining sand bags from the Los Angeles Fire Department. 
  2. Prepare Your Neighborhood. Take a walk around your neighborhood and check the status of neighborhood catch basins, the curbside openings to the municipal storm drain system. If you see a clogged catch basin, call the City’s Storm Drain Hotline at (800) 974-9794 to report it so that LA Sanitation can get it cleaned out before the rains begin.
  3. Prepare to Harvest Rain. Big storms mean big returns on rainwater that can be captured in rain barrels and used at a later date for irrigating outside landscaping. The Metropolitan Water District is still offering a rebate for rain barrels for City residents. If you already have rain barrels, make sure they’re in good working order before the rains begin in earnest. 
  4. Prepare for Continued Drought. Most experts agree that one El Niño winter will not end California’s historic drought. So, continue taking those 5-minute showers, following LADWP’s outside watering restrictions and finding more creative ways to save the drop.
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Outta Sight Thu, 18 Jun 2015 22:01:51 +0000 We all have that one colleague who works tirelessly to make a project better than average but shuns the limelight and, therefore, often times receives little recognition for their dedication and hard work. For Santa Monica Bay beaches, low flow diversions are those unsung heroes.

As Heal the Bay releases its annual beach report card this week, it’s easy to focus on the improved quality of the shimmering waves crashing onto Will Rogers State Beach or the families frolicking on the shore at Santa Monica State Beach. This year, as we gear up for another season of summer fun, we’re shining the focus on low flow diversions. They are, quite literally, the underground heroes that work tirelessly to stop inland pollution from reaching Santa Monica Bay and are a primary reason so many Los Angeles-area beaches receive top grades.

Low flow diversions are very simple in their concept but they reap myriad rewards for LA’s local beaches. Low flow diversions simply re-route polluted urban runoff from storm drain channels into the sanitary sewer system where it gets treated and cleaned at Hyperion Wastewater Treatment Plant. Once cleaned, the water either gets recycled for landscape irrigation or discharged into Santa Monica Bay, five miles off shore. Proposition O recently funded the upgrade of seven pre-existing low flow diversions to increase their pumping capacity. This upgrade will not only allow for the diversion of polluted flow during dry winter months but will also improve the reliability of the low flow diversions. Additionally the low flow diversion in Santa Monica Canyon is due to come online in Santa Monica Canyon soon. The completion of the Central Intercept Relief Sewer is making this possible. Santa Monica Canyon’s new low flow diversion will have the potential to divert 86,400 gallons of polluted urban runoff every day. Wow!

Every year, Santa Monica Bay’s 23 low flow diversions reroute hundreds of millions of gallons of polluted urban runoff to Hyperion. That’s enough polluted runoff to fill the Rose Bowl half a dozen times! LA’s low flow diversions may be out of sight, but for improving LA’s beaches, they’re also outta sight.

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Avalon Alleys To Become Green Allies Mon, 30 Mar 2015 22:06:07 +0000 South Los Angeles has the challenge of being one of the most green-space-challenged areas in Southern California. The Avalon Green Alley Network Project is working to change that by transforming often unsafe and polluted alleyways into new community green spaces.  The project will work to create walkable and bikeable thoroughfares that incorporate stormwater low impact development practices. “The alleys will be repurposed for people, water and urban wildlife as an interconnected open-space network, with pedestrian walkways and gathering spaces built over an infrastructure designed to address LA’s pervasive water needs,” said Enrique C. Zaldivar, Los Angeles Sanitation Director. 

Recently city and community leaders broke ground near 54th Street and Main Street on the first of two alleys to be retrofitted. This demonstration project, which is a joint partnership between the City of Los Angeles, The Trust for Public Land, the Council for Watershed Health, the Coalition for Responsible Community Development and the Los Angeles Conservation Corps, retrofits a 15,100-square-foot public alley, located in a high-density, 5.2-acre neighborhood.  The project will install permeable pavers, dry wells and rainwater harvesting elements to slow down the speed of the rainwater flowing from a 3.15-acre sub-tributary to the Los Angeles River, and allow for its capture and use and/or infiltration back into underground aquifers.

The improvement of water quality in the Los Angeles River and the replenishment of underground aquifers are just a few of this project’s many gains.  South Los Angeles residents will also enjoy multiple benefits. These green corridors will provide safe routes to and from school for children as well as encourage residential walkability and help to cool areas of Los Angeles often plagued by an urban heat island effect.

This demonstration project is scheduled to be complete by fall 2015 and is funded by Proposition 84 and Proposition O. The long term goal of the Avalon Green Alley Network Project includes the greening of almost 900 miles of alleys in Los Angeles, which represents nearly 2,400 acres of potential community and green space. The project also hopes to add community art, interpretive signage and a fitness path.

Often viewed as blighted and undesirable, the Avalon Green Alley Network Project takes the perception of the area behind homes and buildings and turns it upside down – demonstrating the potential that is in all of LA’s neighborhoods and transforming often forgotten alleys into green allies.

Photo courtesy of The Trust for Public Land and Content Object Design Studio.

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University Park Rain Gardens To Grow Thu, 08 Jan 2015 23:13:41 +0000 This coming spring and summer dozens of new gardens will begin growing in the University Park area of Los Angeles, but residents won’t be harvesting cucumbers, carrots and tomatoes from the soil in these gardens. Instead, these new gardens will be harvesting an even more precious resource during this time of unprecedented drought – rainwater.

In early 2015 the University Park Neighborhood Rain Gardens Project will break ground, creating 35 rain gardens in and around the University Park neighborhood, which is adjacent to the University of Southern California. These rain gardens will capture the stormwater runoff from approximately 184 acres of land – simultaneously improving water quality and replenishing groundwater supplies.

So what exactly is a rain garden? A rain garden is simply a planter or depression in the land (often referred to as a vegetated swale) that captures rainfall and allows the rainwater to seep into the ground slowly instead of running off onto the streets, into storm drains and ultimately flowing into Santa Monica or San Pedro Bay.

11th.Hope.Rain.Garden.thegoodstreet.comThe University Park Neighborhood Rain Gardens Project will install rain garden planters – the typical garden will be 4’ wide, 50’ long and 3’ deep – surrounded by a curb. Each of the rain gardens will have a void ratio of 0.40, which just means that the soil will be porous enough to allow rainwater to seep into the ground. Thirty-five rain gardens with the potential to capture a total volume of 62,000 gallons will be installed. Each rain garden planter will include an inlet that will direct rainwater from the street into the planter and an outlet, that will allow excess water to flow out. Good examples of where these innovative rain gardens are already being used in Los Angeles include Elmer Avenue, Riverdale Avenue, Glen Oaks Blvd. at Sunland Ave., and 11th Street at Hope Street, which is pictured above.

If you’d like to learn more about this project, please plan on attending one of two community meetings planned:

Wednesday, January 14, 2015; 6:30 p.m.

Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Library, 3900 S. Western Avenue

Thursday, January 29, 2015; 6:30 p.m.

Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Library, 3900 S. Western Avenue

A tour of the parkway rain garden located at Hope and 11th Streets to better understand how a rain garden works, the plants that are to be used and how it looks is planned at 1 p.m. on Saturday, February 21, 2015. Please meet at Hoover Recreation Center, 1010 W. 25th Street. Transportation to the 11th and Hope Street location will be provided.

LA Sanitation anticipates that this project will take approximately two years to complete. Each rain garden will cost $10,000 with the entire project costing $600,000 ($510,000 grant-funding and $90,000 City of Los Angeles match). Support for this project comes from the following: Council District 8, LA Sanitation, California Water Boards, Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission, LA Conservation Corps, TreePeople and the University of Southern California.

Funding for this project has been provided in part through the Proposition 84 Stormwater Grant Program of the State Water Resources Control Board. The contents of this document do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the State Water Resources Control Board, nor does mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.

Photo courtesy of


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Ed P. Reyes Riverway Project Breaks Ground Thu, 11 Oct 2012 22:12:41 +0000 Los Angeles City Councilmembers Ed P. Reyes and Tom LaBonge joined Public Works officials, community members and Los Angeles River enthusiasts today to celebrate the start of construction of the Lincoln Heights riverside green space named “The Ed P. Reyes Riverway.” Officials broke ground on the $4-million stormwater project originally called the Humboldt Greenway but renamed as a surprise to Councilmember Reyes to recognize his efforts to revitalize the Los Angeles River. The event also marked the 10th Anniversary of the City Council Ad Hoc Committee on the Los Angeles River. In announcing the green space dedication to Councilmember Reyes, Public Works commissioner Jerilyn Lopez-Mendoza said, “With your vision and ability to inspire, you have changed the way we regard the Los Angeles River. You have helped Los Angeles realize that what was once a neglected, graffiti-scarred concrete channel is truly the lifeblood of our city. For that, we thank you and honor you with this project.”

The Ed P. Reyes Riverway project will convert a one-acre space between Avenue 18 and Avenue 19 into a stormwater greenway. The site will take runoff from a 135-acre sub-watershed through a storm drain beneath Humboldt Street, and allow stormwater to run through landscape features that will cleanse it of oils, bacteria, trash and other pollutants before flowing out to the Los Angeles River. The stormwater elements will be complemented by native vegetation, trees, and an irrigation system. Recreational features like solar lights, pedestrian bridges, drinking fountains and a bike stop will also be added. Councilmember Reyes, who spearheads the City’s Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan, emphasized the value of the public works improvement to his district and his vision for L.A.’s main tributary: “This project is important to the health of the Los Angeles River, the health of the environment, our neighborhoods and our families, who live, work and play here.”

The Ed P. Reyes Riverway is scheduled to be complete by mid-2013. For additional information about the project, please download the Department of Public Works press release.

Photo courtesy of the City of Los Angeles, Department of Public Works.

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Humboldt Greenway Project Breaks Ground October 11 Tue, 02 Oct 2012 22:34:20 +0000 Please join City of Los Angeles Councilmember Ed P. Reyes and officials from the Department of Public Works in celebrating the start of construction of the Humboldt River Greenway Project and the 10th Anniversary of the City Council Ad Hoc Committee on the Los Angeles River on Thursday, October 11, 2012.

Here are the specifics regarding the Humboldt River Greenway Project groundbreaking event:

Date: Thursday, October 11, 2012
Time: 9:30 a.m.
Location: Humboldt River Greenway Project site, 1800 Humboldt St., Los Angeles, CA 90031
The Humboldt River Greenway Project, located in the Lincoln Heights community of Los Angeles, involves daylighting an existing storm drain system and constructing a stormwater greenway with a “stream” ecosystem through a corridor on Humboldt Street, with a pedestrian path connecting Avenue 18 and Avenue 19. This project will enhance Los Angeles River water quality by removing pollutants (oil, bacteria, trash) from dry-weather urban runoff, provide natural habitat and community recreational opportunities, and promote the idea that urban streams are a valuable resource to be enjoyed. Construction on this project will last approximately a year with the project concluding in late 2013.
Funding for this project was provided by LA Sanitation. The project was undertaken in connection with the settlement of the Hyperion Treatment Plant enforcement action, California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Los Angeles Region vs. City of Los Angeles.
We invite you to share this event flyer with your friends, colleagues and family and look forward to seeing you there!
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Woodman Avenue Groundbreaking Ceremony Held Wed, 30 May 2012 21:38:57 +0000 The Department of Public Works Bureaus of Sanitation and Street Services joined Councilmember Tony Cardenas (Council District 6), Department of Water and Power, The River Project, Panorama City Neighborhood Council and community members for a groundbreaking ceremony of the Woodman Avenue Stormwater Capture and Median Retrofit Project today. The event was held to coincide with National Public Works Week (May 20-26).

This multi-beneficial green infrastructure project will retrofit the 3,500-foot-long asphalt medians bordering the west side of Woodman Avenue from Lanark Street to Saticoy Avenue. The enhancements include installation of 99 new shade trees, approximately 27,000 square feet of native and drought tolerant landscaping, a permeable walking path, access ramps, and improvements to existing bus stops.

These installations will reclaim the urban forest, help recharge the groundwater basin, improve water quality, and alleviate local flooding. New design features of pre-treatment devices and a naturalized vegetated swale, will allow for the capture, clean and infiltrate of surface runoff, which currently reaches the Tujunga Wash, Los Angeles River and goes into the ocean. In an average rainstorm, nearly 1.5 million gallons will be added to local water supplies.

“This stretch of Woodman Avenue will be enhanced, beautified and designed in a sustainable way that demonstrates why the City of Los Angeles continues to be an environmental leader and innovator,” said Board of Public Works President Andrea A. Alarcón. “It also promotes this year’s National Public Works Week theme of using sustainable solutions to improve the quality of life.”  

The $3.4 million project is funded by State Proposition 50 Funds, the Department of Water and Power and the Bureau of Sanitation.  The Bureau of Street Services will oversee construction. These agencies and The River Project collaborated on the project with support from the Office of Councilmember Tony Cardenas, the Panorama City Neighborhood Council, local organizations and area residents. It was initially proposed by the local community during the development of the Tujunga/Pacoima Watershed Plan.

Photo courtesy of  LA Stormwater.

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Creating a Lasting Impression Fri, 18 May 2012 19:50:58 +0000 The 2012 theme for American Public Works Association’s National Public Works Week (May 20 – 26) is “Public Works: Creating a Lasting Impression.” One such LA Stormwater project, located in the San Fernando Valley, is aiming to do just that!

The Woodman Avenue Multi-Beneficial Stormwater Capture and Median Retrofit Project will enhance the aesthetics of the 3,500-foot long asphalt medians bordering the west side of Woodman Avenue, from Lanark Street to Saticoy Avenue. One hundred new trees and approximately 27,000 square feet of native and drought tolerant landscaping, along with a five-foot wide pedestrian path and access ramps will provide added improvements. Another bonus is that this project will capture surface rainwater runoff from a 130-acre area and direct it into pre-treatment devices and a naturalized vegetated swale where it will infiltrate into the ground and recharge groundwater supplies.

This project is the result of a partnership between the City of Los Angeles, The River Project, the Panorama City Neighborhood Council and area residents. A total of $3.39 million was provided by State Proposition 50, LADWP and LA Sanitation to fund this project. The Department of Public Works, Bureau of Street Services will construct the project.

You are invited to join Los Angeles City Councilmember Tony Cardenas, City officials and community residents at the Woodman Avenue Multi-Beneficial Stormwater Capture and Median Retrofit Project during APWA’s National Public Works Weeks to celebrate its ground breaking. Here are the specifics:

Event: Woodman Avenue Median Retrofit Ground Breaking Ceremony

Date:  Thursday, May 24, 2012

Time:  8:30 a.m.

Location:  West side of Woodman Avenue at the southern end of the intersection of Strathern Street, Los Angeles, CA  91402

Come and join us as, together, we create a lasting impression with this project – one of reclaiming the urban forest and building a sustainable LA!

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North Atwater Park to Be Celebrated Along LA River Banks Tue, 03 Apr 2012 15:54:25 +0000 You are invited to join Los Angeles City Councilmember Tom LaBonge, City officials and community residents along the banks of the Los Angeles River on April 12, 2012 to celebrate the grand opening of the North Atwater Park Expansion and Creek Restoration project. Here are the specifics:

Date:  Thursday, April 12, 2012

Time:  9:30 a.m.

Location:  North Atwater Park, 3900 W. Chevy Chase Dr., Los Angeles, 90039

As the lead project for the City of Los Angeles’ proposed Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan, the restoration of North Atwater Creek and expansion of North Atwater Park perfectly embodies the objectives of Los Angeles’ renewal of the river. It is a microcosm of what the City hopes to achieve up and down the river’s 51 miles in years to come.

The project uses both structural and natural solutions to restore this natural creek and expand its park, simultaneously improving water quality and creating green space for local residents and habitat for wildlife. A trash collection device at the top of the park will capture polluted runoff flowing from the 40 acres of urban residential neighborhoods north of the creek. An outdoor classroom gathering space and native demonstration garden provide educational opportunities. Interpretive signage along meandering LA River-access paths further enhances a park-goer’s experience.

For more on this project, please read our October 2010 blog post, A Forgotten Creek Will Lead the Way.

This project was funded in part by Proposition 50 and undertaken in connection with the settlement of two Clean Water Act enforcement actions (Santa Monica Baykeeper v. City of Los Angeles and United States, and the State of California ex Rel. California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Los Angeles Region v. City of Los Angeles).

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