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Urban Runoff

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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 2, 2013 | By Louis Sahagun
California communities spend close to half a billion dollars each year trying to prevent litter from mucking up the sensitive ecosystems of rivers, lakes and coastal waters, according to a report released recently by the Natural Resources Defense Council. Yet urban runoff remains a serious problem for fish, birds, turtles and marine mammals that ingest it: clogged intestines, restricted movement, suffocation, loss of vital nutrients and starvation. Then there is the derelict fishing gear - monofilament line, nets, poles, toxic lead sinkers and plastic lures that can last thousands of years - that can become deadly snares for marine life.
ARTICLES BY DATE
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 13, 2014 | By Louis Sahagun
The contrast between nostalgia for the Los Angeles River and the reality of it today could not be sharper than at its confluence with the Arroyo Seco, a big, desolate flood-control channel strewn with trash and hemmed by freeways, power lines and railroad yards. Nagged by a sense that a real river lay entombed in all that concrete, L.A. poet Lewis MacAdams and two friends, fortified by coffee and brandy, in 1985 used wire cutters to snip a hole in the fence that separated the river from the city.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 30, 2003 | From Times Staff Reports
Orange County water experts tonight will discuss water quality and urban runoff, and requirements for keeping water clean. Panelists will be Blake Anderson of the Orange County Sanitation District, Norris Brandt of the Irvine Ranch Water District and Irvine city officials Eric Tolles and Mike Loving. Paul Jones of the Irvine Ranch Water District will moderate. The event begins at 7 p.m. in the Irvine council chambers at 1 Civic Center Plaza. For more information, call (949) 724-6380.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 2, 2013 | By Louis Sahagun
California communities spend close to half a billion dollars each year trying to prevent litter from mucking up the sensitive ecosystems of rivers, lakes and coastal waters, according to a report released recently by the Natural Resources Defense Council. Yet urban runoff remains a serious problem for fish, birds, turtles and marine mammals that ingest it: clogged intestines, restricted movement, suffocation, loss of vital nutrients and starvation. Then there is the derelict fishing gear - monofilament line, nets, poles, toxic lead sinkers and plastic lures that can last thousands of years - that can become deadly snares for marine life.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 22, 1996 | MARY MOORE
Flick a cigarette onto the street in Pacoima and it could end up bobbing near the shore at Santa Monica Beach. Pour chemicals on the ground in Sylmar and a swimmer at Venice Beach may end up with a mouthful of them. Storm drains are designed to prevent streets from flooding, but they also are the conduits for pollutants from inland cities to the beaches.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 3, 2013 | By Abby Sewell, Los Angeles Times
A boom floating at the mouth of the Los Angeles River in Long Beach collects trash by the ton. After each rainstorm, the debris washes downstream toward the ocean - plastic bags, tires, mattresses, spray cans, a mannequin head. Last year, the Los Angeles County contractor that operates the boom hauled more than 1,000 tons of garbage from the site. But many of the pollutants dumped into county waters by storm and urban runoff are invisible: pesticides, bacteria from animal waste, vehicle fluids and tiny pieces of metal and rubber washed off of roadways.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 8, 2000 | JOE MOZINGO, TIMES STAFF WRITER
A coalition of cities, builders and gas station representatives urged the state Wednesday to reject a stringent plan to limit urban runoff, arguing that its costs would far exceed potential improvements to water quality.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 1, 1999 | JANET WILSON, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Urban runoff, rather than a leaky sewage pipe, may be causing high levels of bacteria in the surf off Huntington Beach, officials said Tuesday. Experts are still examining every possible explanation for the bacterial contamination that has closed miles of shoreline and spoiled much of the summer season in Huntington Beach. But they took steps Tuesday to divert more than a million gallons a day of runoff, much of it from a downtown hotel construction site, that has been dumping into the ocean.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 5, 2000
Plagued by reports of local rivers, creeks and beaches being fouled by pollutants, two Orange County supervisors have endorsed a plan to spend $1.1 million to combat urban runoff and protect sensitive watersheds. For decades, coastal cities have borne the brunt of pollution's effects, including last year's high bacteria levels that closed a popular stretch of Huntington Beach for two months.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 17, 1999 | MARLA CONE, TIMES ENVIRONMENTAL WRITER
Facing seemingly unanimous opposition from city leaders and developers across Los Angeles County, water quality officials decided Thursday to take no immediate action on a controversial proposal that would require major development projects to prevent urban runoff from fouling ocean waters. The Los Angeles area is believed to suffer the worst runoff problem in the country, with viruses and toxic pollutants flowing to the ocean on dry as well as rainy days.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 3, 2013 | By Abby Sewell, Los Angeles Times
A boom floating at the mouth of the Los Angeles River in Long Beach collects trash by the ton. After each rainstorm, the debris washes downstream toward the ocean - plastic bags, tires, mattresses, spray cans, a mannequin head. Last year, the Los Angeles County contractor that operates the boom hauled more than 1,000 tons of garbage from the site. But many of the pollutants dumped into county waters by storm and urban runoff are invisible: pesticides, bacteria from animal waste, vehicle fluids and tiny pieces of metal and rubber washed off of roadways.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 16, 2012 | Ann M. Simmons
Watching water stream under parked cars and through the gutters every time it rained made Alice Abler cringe. "What a terrible waste," Abler recalled thinking, pondering all the pollutants being swept down drains and into waterways. Her chance to act came with a new program that provides homeowners with free rain gardens installed in their yards. These shallow depressions surrounded by dirt berms and planted with climate-appropriate flowering plants are designed to hold rainwater from rooftops and paved surfaces and keep it from flowing to streets.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 9, 2012 | By Bettina Boxall, Los Angeles Times
Cities in Los Angeles County face spending billions of dollars to clean up the dirty urban runoff that washes pollution into drains and coastal waters under storm water regulations approved Thursday night by the regional water board. Despite more than two decades of regulation, runoff remains the leading cause of water pollution in Southern California, prompting beach closures and bans on eating fish caught in Santa Monica Bay. The runoff - whether from heavy winter rains or sprinkler water spilling down the gutter - is tainted by a host of contaminants from thousands of different places: bacteria from pet waste, copper from auto brake pads, toxics from industrial areas, pesticides and fertilizer from lawns.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 29, 2011 | By Jason Song and Tony Barboza, Los Angeles Times
For years, residents living near Ballona Creek and environmentalists have complained of mysterious sheens of oil and grease in the western Los Angeles County waterway, often blaming industrial dumping, urban runoff or other man-made causes for the pollution. One cause that apparently never crossed their minds: the La Brea Tar Pits. It turns out the tourist attraction and preferred field trip destination of seemingly every grade schooler in the region has sent oily wastewater spilling into the highly polluted creek.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 30, 2011 | By Tony Barboza, Los Angeles Times
The number of times the nation's beaches were closed or posted with warnings because of polluted water jumped last year to its second-highest level in 21 years, in part because of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and heavy rains that swept pollutants into the ocean at an accelerated rate, according to a report released Wednesday. The Natural Resources Defense Council found that contamination from oil, urban runoff, and human and animal waste continued to take a toll on beaches across the country in 2010, according to the report . In California, where heavier than normal rainfall greatly increased the amount of water and pollutants being flushed into the ocean, closures and advisories nearly doubled, and the number of beach water tests that exceeded state health standards rose to 11% from 9% the year before.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 1, 2010 | By Susan Carpenter
A proposed law would require new homes, larger developments and some redevelopments in Los Angeles to capture and reuse runoff generated in rainstorms. The ordinance approved in January by the Department of Public Works would require such projects to capture, reuse or infiltrate 100% of runoff generated in a 3/4 -inch rainstorm or to pay a storm water pollution mitigation fee that would help fund off-site, low-impact public developments. The fairly new approach to managing storm water and urban runoff is designed to mitigate the negative effects of urbanization by controlling runoff at its source with small, cost-effective natural systems instead of treatment facilities.
OPINION
December 7, 2003 | Tom Harman, Tom Harman is the state Assembly member for the 67th District.
The rainy season is about to begin, so it's again time to look at how we deal with the problems caused by urban runoff. Urban runoff is the water that flows untreated from our gutters to the storm drains and ultimately to the ocean. It is water pollution that threatens the economy, public health and image of California's coastal communities, and it's imperative that we develop a plan to deal with it.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 25, 2000 | SUE FOX, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Despite heavy initial investments in high-tech devices to keep storm runoff clean, some Los Angeles County cities have experienced disappointing results so far in their fight against the grimy urban runoff emptying into the sea. Now anti-pollution rules are about to get much more stringent. Regional water quality officials are drafting stricter limits on pollutants fouling the county's creeks and beaches to be phased in over the next 12 years. The changes have some city officials worried.
NATIONAL
December 25, 2006 | By Kenneth R. Weiss, Times Staff Writer
Call it the slobber stopper. It looks like an elaborate fountain. Water gurgles through a series of red-tiled pools, spillways and chutes within sight of the pedestrian walkway that connects the bluffs of Santa Monica with the Santa Monica Pier. The Santa Monica Urban Runoff Recycling Facility, or SMURRF, is the only thing preventing 350,000 gallons of urban runoff from coursing into the Pacific every day. The $12-million contraption is at the forefront of efforts to curb the torrent of pollutants that threaten the world's oceans.
HEALTH
June 19, 2006
Janet Cromley's article of June 5 ["Bacteria at the Beach?"] is very timely. Presently there is a billion-dollar effort to treat or divert all sources of urban runoff entering our coastal waters. There is increasing evidence that the health threat from urban runoff may be often overestimated. Before we continue to spend huge sums of money to clean up our beaches, it is time to review new scientific information about health effects. JOHN F. SKINNER, MD Newport Beach
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