At Franklin D. Roosevelt Park in the unincorporated South Los Angeles area, stormwater from 200 acres is directed to infiltration
basins installed underneath the park’s reconstructed soccer field. Photos courtesy of Los Angeles County Public Works.
REUNITING Stormwater AND
Sanitary Sewage AGAIN
MODERN WATER SYSTEM OPERATORS LONG AGO learned the pitfalls of all-purpose water disposal
systems that once combined stormwater runoff and sanitary sewers. Over time, public service agencies
separated these two vital public functions to protect watersheds and public health. Could there ever be
a rationale for again marrying these two wastewater systems?
Ironically, it starts with trying to protect watershed and public
The vast Los Angeles metropolis is known to be an industry
leader in many fields, including aerospace, art and entertainment.
Unfortunately, Los Angeles also leads the nation with 36 TMDLs
or Total Maximum Daily Loads pollutants. TMDLs are water
quality regulations under the Clean Water Act, which regulates
water quality in the nation’s rivers, lakes and oceans. As a global
economic engine with a population of more than 10 million
people, Los Angeles generates a wide variety of pollutants.
Los Angeles has TMDLs for metals, bacteria, nutrients,
pesticides — you name it, this area will likely have a TMDL for it.
26 SOURCE winter 2020
Los Angeles area agencies have been very active in trying
to address these critical water quality issues, but the tide really
turned with the 2012 Stormwater Permit that was issued by the
Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board. The 2012
Permit encouraged 84 cities, the County of Los Angeles and the
Los Angeles County Flood Control District to work together to
develop Enhanced Watershed Management Program (EWMP)
plans to identify the best projects to implement low-impact
development, green streets and regional projects to capture
stormwater and treat stormwater as a resource in its own right.
These goals presented a major paradigm shift. The prior goal of
stormwater management was to flush runoff away from urban areas
The Marriage at Carriage
By TJ Moon and Mercedes Passanisi