Culver City Edition Local News

Stormwater management plan benefits Ballona Creek

CULVER CITY — The city has undertaken a multi-faceted approach to enhance water quality in Ballona Creek, area beaches and coastal waters by implementing several projects through its stormwater management program.

The state-mandated program is designed to prevent pollutants originating in the city, such as trash, automotive fluids (oil, gasoline, antifreeze), and chemical wastes (paint, pesticides, fertilizers) from ending up on Santa Monica Bay beaches and in coastal waters.

“Completing these projects demonstrates an important partnership with the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission, the state water board, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the city which are all working together to directly address goals outlined in the Santa Monica Bay’s Restoration Plan,” Vice Mayor Michael O’Leary said. “These improvements will benefit the entire community and fragile ecosystems, both on land and in the water.”

O’Leary serves as chair of the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission.

Funding for the projects was provided with funds from Proposition 50, a 2002 state ballot measure that provided bond funds for coastal protection, regional water management and water quality.

Ballona Creek is a nine-mile long waterway that runs through Culver City on its way to the Pacific Ocean.

Once a natural stream that became a channel in the 1930s, the creek drains a large portion of the Los Angeles basin, from the Santa Monica Mountains on the north, the Harbor (110) Freeway on the east, and the Baldwin Hills on the south.

At 130 square miles, the Ballona Creek Watershed is the largest watershed in the Santa Monica Bay, and is comprised of all or parts of the cities of Beverly Hills, Culver City, Inglewood, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, West Hollywood, and unincorporated communities of Los Angeles County.

Because Ballona Creek drains such a large area, it is particularly affected by the various pollutants that are dumped or deposited anywhere in its drainage area.

To help address the issue of pollutants flowing through the creek to the ocean, Culver City has completed several projects to either prevent pollutants from reaching the creek or to help cleanse storm water runoff before it flows into the creek.

One of the projects involved installing more than 1,000 automatic retractable and connector pipe trash screens in storm drain catch basins. The screens help prevent trash, leaves and other debris from flowing into the storm drain system.

The screens are installed at street level to prevent large debris from entering the catch basin. A connector pipe screen is installed inside the catch basin to prevent small debris from entering the drainage system. In dry weather, the automatic retractable screens are closed, and in wet weather they open to prevent flooding.

The city also purchased 95 “split line design” receptacles that accept both trash and recyclable materials that were placed on major boulevards and in areas of the city that receive a lot of pedestrian traffic.

In addition, several rain gardens were designed and installed at four select sites throughout the community. A rain garden is a landscaped area designed to infiltrate runoff or treat it before being discharged to the storm drain system, thereby preventing potential pollutants from entering the storm drain system and Ballona Creek.

The city’s first rain garden is located along the Ballona Creek bike path, adjacent to two schools, measuring 1,400 square feet and treating 3.4 acres of school property.

A 4,000-square-foot rain garden along Jefferson Boulevard at the city’s public works yard also includes a 3,000-gallon cistern collecting roof runoff.

The city’s transfer station has 2,050 square feet of rain gardens that treat 7,500 square feet of the station’s property, as well as approximately one acre of street drainage.

Previous city landscaping in front of four homes at the corner of Baldwin Avenue and Farragut Drive was replaced with 2,100 square feet of rain gardens treating 5.6 acres of residential properties and streets.

“Culver City appreciates the leadership of our project partners, which helped provide the much-needed funding to implement these important projects,” Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells said. “Together, we are cleaning, beautifying and improving Ballona Creek for years to come.”