Los Angeles County Public Works staff recently gave Streetsblog L.A. a tour of its East Los Angeles Sustainable Median Stormwater Capture Project. In addition to capturing and infiltrating approximately 21 acre-feet of rainwater and urban runoff from a 3,000-acre area of mostly homes and commercial properties, the project is also turning dried out and unmaintained greenways into recreation areas complete with jogging paths, drought tolerant landscaping, and more than 300 trees.
Most of the underground work has been completed, and the above ground work, which includes the landscaping and recreational uses, is currently underway, said Regina Quan, capital project management associate at LACDPW. Many of the medians got new curb ramps and walkway paths that are ADA compliant and will be getting soil and vegetation soon.
Encompassing five medians of varying size, the project is expected to be completed by the end of the year, Quan said.
More than 100 drywells have been installed and go about a 100 feet depth. Water will get captured through existing storm drains and get pulled into the network of filtration systems before it enters into the drywells and groundwater supply. Rainwater will also be collected through bioswales and go directly to the drywells.
“We started August 2020 of last year, we’ll finish by the end of this year,” Quan said.
The filtration system traps trash, metals and bacteria; these will get separated and will be cleaned by maintenance staff after rainy days. A water maintenance program will include a water quality monitoring for both cleaning the filtration system and measuring the water quality before it enters the system and after to see how much the water improves before it goes into the ground.
More than 300 native and drought tolerant trees will be planted as a part of the project. Wherever possible, the existing trees were kept. Kristopher Fortin/Streetsblog LA
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