Saturday, August 20, 2011

Dumping Poisons Into The Sea No More

My normal run route along golf course

My favorite part of the run from my mom's to the beach - along Rose and the tree lined Penmar golf course - was blocked with cement borders. There was this sign explaining why.

Click to make it more readable

  So, the water and other wastes that go down the gutter into the sewer has always just been flowing, completely untreated, into the ocean at Venice Beach.  And now they are going to treat the water.  This is a good thing since pollution going into oceans isn't good.   The LAProp O website explains:
"The voters of Los Angeles overwhelmingly passed Proposition O, which authorized the City of Los Angeles to issue a series of general obligation bonds for up to $500 million for projects to protect public health by cleaning up pollution, including bacteria and trash, in the City's watercourses, beaches and the ocean, in order to meet Federal Clean Water Act requirements"

There are eight other LA projects.  The website also explains why Penmar is one of the projects:
"Existing Conditions
Currently, urban runoff and rainwater from the area flows into the Rose Avenue Storm Drain. This pipe carries untreated stormwater and dry weather runoff to the surf zone at Venice Beach."
The new system is designed so
"up to nearly three million gallons (per storm event) of stormwater from this watershed that is currently untreated will be kept out of the drain that flows into Santa Monica Bay;"

This is the drain that the water comes out at Venice Beach at the end of Rose Avenue.  It's summer here, so I'm not sure if they've blocked it already or there just isn't any water. 

I took the picture below from on top of the drain out to where it flows when there's a flow.

"The major project components consist of a stormwater diversion structure, pumps, storm drain sewer pipes and sanitary sewer pipes, and an underground storage tank;"
West end of golf course

"Project location: Along portions of Frederick St. and Rose Ave. in Venice, adjacent to the Penmar Golf Course and under a portion of the Penmar Recreation Center Park play fields. Other project work will take place in a few local streets;"

Map from LAPropO website

I seem to have deleted the picture of the large hole and dirt pile at Penmar playground (the green circle in the map above.)  You can see from the map, it's going to be a storage tank. There's still a year to go before it's done. [UPDATE Aug 30:  I found the missing photo, see below.]

And the water in the tank, after being cleaned, will be used to water the golf course instead of being dumped dirty into the ocean.  
Following the first phase of work, a disinfection system will be built to treat a portion of the stormwater flow. The safe, treated water will be locally reused for landscape irrigation at the Penmar Golf Course, Penmar Recreation Center Park, and Marine Park.
I still found a manhole in Santa Monica on my run that suggests their waste water is still going into the ocean.  And we have similar warnings on Anchorage sewers.

I'm not  sure how much of an impact this will have.  It seems that Ocean Acidification is a much greater threat to the oceans, and no one (except maybe the invisible hand that market economists claim controls the economy) is serious about cutting back on carbon dioxide emissions. I guess every little bit helps.

For a different mindset on all this, here's Science Friday's video of the week.  This guy build an eco-friendly sustainable floating toilet.  It's worth a look.

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