Long Beach is Fighting Stormwater Pollution

Long Beach is taking a step in the right direction. Like its neighbors in Orange County, Long Beach is working hard to improve the environment. At its most recent meeting, the Long Beach City Council voted to approve a “$19 million contract with the Shimmick Construction Company to build the Long Beach Municipal Urban Stormwater Treatment Facility, which will improve local water quality by capturing and cleaning stormwater runoff.”

The facility, which will be located near the Los Angeles River and Shoreline Drive, will also be home to a new wetland habitat.

This project has been in the pipeline for a while, but the recent vote has allowed more developments to occur. The project has secured funding from major sources such as CalTrans, the Rivers and Mountains Conservancy, the Port of Long Beach, and the City of Long Beach, among others. So far, the first phase of the project is set to cost $44 million.

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While most beaches in Southern California have scored relatively high in water quality (with most being rated A’s and B’s by the Heal the Bay Beach Report Card), the rains bring on very different results.

“Stormwater washes toxins, fertilizer, bacteria from animal poop, and other pollutants from streets and landscapes into the ocean by way of rivers, streams and storm drains. As a result, beachgoers face an increased risk of contracting ear, eye and respiratory infections, as well as skin rashes and gastrointestinal illness.”

Although the rain is infrequent in Southern California, that doesn’t mean it’s less impactful. Due to the fact that it rarely rains in Southern California, water pollution is more potent because the chemicals and toxins build up.

Following rain, 13 of Long Beach’s 15 beaches were scored at F’s. The beaches were all tested during the time between April 2020 and March 2021. Luckily, the city of Long Beach has already taken action on this and is making quick strides forward.

The City of Long Beach has its own stormwater program. The program is a collaboration with the local and state government to monitor and permit discharge to municipal storm drain systems, creeks, and bodies of water such as the Pacific Ocean. This is intended to help regulate construction projects. Due to the Clean Water Act, construction projects must comply with local requirements.

If you’re interested in helping keep Long Beach’s beaches clean, here are some ways:

  • One of the main ones, avoid using and bringing plastic!
  • Bring a bag for your trash.
  • Pick up trash when you do see it.
  • Be mindful of open flames when holding beach campfires.
  • Participate in a local beach cleanup. There are organizations such as Heal the Bay and the Surfrider Foundation that host routine cleanups. You can also check Facebook Groups and Meetup.

Earthwise Hauling is dedicated to creating a more eco-friendly and sustainable Southern California. Earthwise Hauling serves the Long Beach area, as well as the majority of Los Angeles and Orange County. We are also proud sponsors of the Rivers and Lands Conservancy.

For more information about Long Beach water quality, you can visit Long Beach Water.