New Bacteria Limits Set for LA River

On July 9, 2010, The Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board (LARWQCB) held a hearing in Glendale to decide the Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for bacteria in the LA River.

TMDLs establish the maximum amount of pollutants that are allowed to enter a particular water body in order to comply with federal water quality standards. LARWQCB approved a new bacteria TMDL for the LA River during dry weather seasons over the next 25 years in order to meet already established goals.

The adoption of new TMDL standards came after a two-year long stakeholder process called Cleaner Rivers Through Effective Stakeholder-led TMDLs (CREST). The City of Los Angeles spearheaded the group’s discussions.

“This was the first TMDL adopted AFTER completion of significant scientific study, with detailed assessment of implementation strategies to meet the waste load allocation, and their costs,” said Catherine Tyrrell of Malcolm Pirnie, one of several individuals on the CREST consultant team.

This fix will help to keep dangerous strains of bacteria like E. coli from entering the stormwater system and then entering the LA River where it is dumped into waters off of Long Beach. Such pollutants can harm human and aquatic life.

Inland cities will have to comply with the standards by adopting a number of different techniques from best management practices to treatment facility construction.

*Photo courtesy of LAist.com

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