Yearlong project will help keep trash out of the L.A. River

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Catch basin inserts will be installed in 16 cities along the Los Angeles River.

Catch basin inserts will be installed in 16 cities along the Los Angeles River.

A major environmental project to help 16 cities capture tons of their trash before it enters the Los Angeles River moved forward on Thursday when a regional authority awarded a $5 million contract funded with federal Stimulus monies.

The contract will fund the installation of approximately 12,000 trash-collection devices known as catch basin inserts into storm drains, under the contract awarded by the LA Gateway Region Integrated Regional Water Management Authority (LA Gateway Authority). One insert will be installed inside each publicly held storm drain that leads to the LA River, in the City of Long Beach and throughout all of the other 15 Gateway Cities, which are upriver from Long Beach.

Each year, the inserts will prevent an estimated 400 tons of trash, green waste and other debris from entering the storm drain system, which leads to the Los Angeles River and ultimately the Long Beach shoreline. Without the inserts, trash enters the storm drain system and washes out to the ocean and area beaches.

“For many years, our beaches and coastal water quality have suffered,” said Mayor Bob Foster. “This project will help reduce the amount of trash that ends up on the Long Beach shoreline. I look forward to the swift implementation of this project.”

The project went out for bid on November 3rd. Three bids were received, with the winning bid of $5 million being submitted by the Steve Bubalo Construction Company.

The project could start as early as the beginning of December and create approximately 200 jobs. Once work has begun, it may take nine to twelve months before all the storm drains have been retrofitted with their new devices.

Because the project is able to be completed at a cost that is only half of the $10 million in total stimulus funds that were received, any remaining funds will be made available on an agreed upon pro-rated basis to Gateway Cities that want to install Automatic Retractable Screens (ARS) in addition to the Connector Pipe Screens (CPS) that will be installed in all of the storm drains.

Curb-level screens will prevent trash from heading towards the storms drains.

Curb-level screens will prevent trash from heading towards the storms drains.

In addition, approximately $4 million will be available for cities to install curb-level screens to prevent debris from entering storm drains, and also enable the debris to be collected by street-sweeping equipment.

The City of Long Beach has successfully installed hundreds of inserts, screens and even sponge filters already using other funding sources, proving that the technology works and can be easily implemented.

In an average year, the City of Long Beach picks up more than 3,000 tons of trash and other debris deposited on its beaches by the LA River.

“I want to wholeheartedly thank the Gateway Cities Council of Government, all of the upstream cities, and our legislative delegation for all coming together to support this regional project that will have such a positive effect on Long Beach,” said City Manager Pat West.

The cities that will receive the catch basin inserts are: Bell, Bell Gardens, Commerce, Compton, Cudahy, Downey, Huntington Park, Long Beach, Lynwood, Maywood, Montebello, Paramount, Pico Rivera, Signal Hill, South Gate and Vernon. The project will help the 16 affected communities meet the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board’s (Los Angeles Water Board) Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for trash by 2016 and prevent pollution of California’s beaches.

A total of $10 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds was distributed to the (LA Gateway Authority) via the California State Water Resources Control Board. The Recovery Act money was made available to the State Water Board by the U.S. EPA. At least 20% of the funds provided under the Recovery Act are for green infrastructure, water and energy efficiency improvements and other environmentally innovative projects.

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