City Receives $4.9 Million Grant to Improve the Water of Beaches and Coastline

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The City of Long Beach has been awarded a $4.9 million grant from the State Water Resources Control Board Clean Beaches Initiative Grant Program to reduce the amount of bacterial pollution and contaminated stormwater runoff from reaching the coastline.

“We’ve made great strides to improve recreational water quality in recent years, and this funding will help us to continue the progress we’ve made,” Mayor Bob Foster said.

The funds will be used to construct three Low Flow Diversion (LFD) Systems and two Vortex Separation System (VSS) devices that will affect three beach outfalls along Ocean Boulevard. Both of these systems divert pollution such as motor oil, dog waste and lawn fertilizer away from waterways, which helps to ensure that people will be able to enjoy the beach.

“I’d like to thank the State Water Resources Control Board for this grant funding, which will make our beautiful coastline cleaner and even more enjoyable for residents and visitors,” said Councilmember Suja Lowenthal, who represents the 2nd District.

“This grant funding will help us to continue our investment in our beaches and coastline on behalf of our residents, visitors and future generations,” said Councilmember Gary DeLong, who represents the 3rd District.

Low Flow Diversion systems route dry weather urban runoff away from the storm drain system or waterways, and redirect it into the sanitary sewer system, where the contaminated runoff is treated and filters before being discharged into the ocean.

The Vortex Separation System works like the spin cycle of a washing machine: Storm water enters a cylindrical chamber then spins through a cylindrical perforated screen, which traps and draws trash, sediment and green waste to the bottom of a litter sump. The filtered storm water continues its path toward the ocean.

The systems will be installed at the following locations:

  • 9th Place south of Ocean Boulevard (one LFD and one VSS)
  • Redondo Avenue north of Ocean Boulevard (one LFD and one VSS)
  • Shoreline Avenue at Golden Avenue (one LFD)

Educational features would be incorporated along the beach outfall structures to inform the public of the consequences of trash and bacteria in sediment that enter the storm drains.

Recreational water quality in Long Beach has improved steadily in recent years; 10 of the 13 beaches sampled received “A” or “B” grades by Heal the Bay in its 2013 Annual Beach Report Card. And the Colorado Lagoon, after completion of an $8.5 million restoration project last summer, received “A+” grades every month since the project was finished in August 2012.

Here are some additional examples of how water quality is improving in Long Beach:

  • Long Beach and 15 upriver cities have installed thousands of trash-capturing devices in regional storm drains that flow to the Los Angeles River and then the Long Beach coastline. This prevents hundreds of tons of trash from entering the storm drains with urban runoff.
  • The recently completed Los Angeles County Termino Avenue Storm Drain Project includes multiple water quality protection attributes:
    Oil and grease absorbent sponges;
    Retractable catch basin screens to keep trash from entering the storm drain system; and
    A low-flow diversion system to improve the water quality of storm runoff.
  • Recently completed improvements at Colorado Lagoon include:
    Removing contaminated sediment;
    Cleaning an underground culvert to improve water circulation with Alamitos Bay;
    Installing bioswales to naturally filter out stormwater contaminants; and
    Installing trash traps and a low-flow diversion system to divert some of the most heavily contaminated stormwater into the sewage system.

The City of Long Beach proposal was reviewed and recommended for funding by the Clean Beaches Task Force, which consists of 25 volunteers with diverse backgrounds in environmental advocacy, academia, scientific research, engineering, municipal government, state government, and federal government.

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