It’s an A for Santa Monica Bay

The beach is synonymous with summer here in Southern California. From collecting seashells with the kids to building sand castles just beyond the waters edge…from catching El Porto’s best waves at dawn to walks along Will Rogers State Beach at sunset…every Angeleno has their favorite summer beach activity.

And, we’re proud to say that all of those favorite seashore activities were made possible because of the City of Los Angeles working in partnership with the County of Los Angeles and the City of Santa Monica to fund projects that improved water quality up and down Santa Monica Bay. In fact, of the 44 Santa Monica Bay Beaches featured on Heal the Bay’s 2016 Beach Report Card, only two beaches (Santa Monica Pier and Marina del Rey’s Mother’s Beach) received a less than stellar grade. Every other beach within the Santa Monica Bay Watershed received an A+ dry weather grade from Heal the Bay.

Much of the credit for these high dry-weather grades goes to the 23 low-flow diversions, owned and operated by the City of Los Angeles, the County of Los Angeles and the City of Santa Monica, that dot Santa Monica Bay. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term low-flow diversion, a low-flow diversion is an underground structural system that diverts polluted urban runoff from coastal stormwater outfalls to the sanitary sewer system and ultimately Hyperion Wastewater Treatment and Water Reclamation Plant located just south of LAX. Once at Hyperion, this polluted stormwater runoff is cleaned, treated and then released into the ocean five miles from shore. And the amount of polluted urban runoff being diverted and treated is impressive! On an average day, Santa Monica Bay’s low-flow diversions have the capacity to divert more than half a million gallons of polluted urban runoff to LA’s Hyperion Treatment Plant.

Low-flow diversions have done a lot to improve water quality all along Santa Monica Bay but that doesn’t mean we residents get a free pass. So continue picking up after your dog, using canvas bags at the market and putting trash in its place. Keep on recycling that used motor oil and getting up early on a Saturday morning to clean up your community. Keeping LA’s local waterways clean is a team effort. Together, we can continue to achieve an “A” for Santa Monica Bay.

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