Soon, 426 catch basins in the city will be retrofitted with new filter screens that will prevent trash from entering into the storm water system. Known as connector pipe screens, these screens will be placed in front of large storm water drainage pipes that lead into the Los Angeles River.
“The city owns approximately 60 catch basins,” Patty Peña, Management Analyst for the city’s Public Works department, notes. “During the last fiscal year, we installed screens on these catch basins that prevented trash from flowing through.”
To protect the environment, the state has created a permit that regulates the amount of discharge that emanates from storm water systems. This discharge – known as the total maximum daily load – is the amount of pollutant that a given body of water can handle while still meeting water quality standards.
A look at a pipe connector screen at Abbot and Bencamp inside a catch basin
While San Gabriel has successfully fulfilled the state’s mandate when it comes to city-owned catch basins, officials at Public Works also need to ensure that all Los Angeles County-owned catch basins are retrofitted as well. “Phase one was completed, and all city-owned catch basins have been retrofitted. However, the city’s scope also includes catch basins owned by the county since they convey runoff generated within our city. Phase two will address this.”
As part of the retrofitting process, contractors will be installing new filter screens on 426 catch basins across the city. These screen frames surround the drain, allowing trash to accumulate inside the catch basin instead of flowing into the system. From there, workers can clean the trash on a periodic basis. “Depending on the season – whether it’s wet or dry – you’ll have someone access the drainage system to clean out the trash,” Peña said. “Its then weighed for record keeping.”
Despite the fairly large amount of connector pipe screens required for this project, officials anticipate that construction should move along fairly quickly. Once complete, the city will be able to reduce its total maximum daily load, thereby helping the environment by preventing trash from flowing into the ocean. “Even though we’re further away from the beach, we have the same impact on our waterways as coastal communities,” Peña notes. “It’s our responsibility to ensure that trash doesn’t flow down the system since everything eventually leads to the ocean.”