LAX runoff is currently sent untreated into the ocean via what is essentially an open ditch. The project will collect the airport's stormwater and either send it through a newly constructed connection with the city's Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant, which is near the southwest corner of LAX, or pump it into underground infiltration galleries to recharge the groundwater basin.
Mayor Garcetti was joined at an event at the project site today by Councilmember Mike Bonin, LAWA General Manager Gina Marie Lindsey, Director of Sanitation Enrique Zaldivar, environmental leaders and members of the community.
At the event, Mayor Garcetti, Lindsey and Zaldivar signed a Memorandum of Understanding to provide funding, assign responsibilities, and move forward with the project.
Mayor Garcetti also said that the people of L.A. were partners in this project, noting that $30 million of the estimated $40 million project is being provided through Proposition O, which was passed in 2004.
"I am proud that I was an author of Proposition O, the nation's largest clean water initiative, and it was only because the voters stepped up and passed it that this facility is being built. So today represents a partnership between the city and all Angelenos."
For years, the project was mired in federal red tape and local bureaucracy, Mayor Garcetti added. Mayor Garcetti made the project a priority and the signing of today's agreement represents the culmination of months of cooperation between the two City departments and a major step in the City’s efforts to effectively improve stormwater runoff.
"Cleaning the water that ends up in our ocean is vitally important to the health and safety of everyone who enjoys the beach," said Councilmember Mike Bonin, who represents the area. "LAWA is continuing to demonstrate that LAX can be both a world-class airport and a first-class neighbor."
“This agreement provides LAWA with a cost-effective approach to complying with all the requirements associated with the Clean Water Act, while benefiting LAX and our neighboring communities,” said LAWA Executive Director Gina Marie Lindsey.
LA Sanitation Director Enrique C. Zaldivar, P.E. said, "Land space opportunities for stormwater runoff capture, filtration and infiltration on a sizable scale are few in our urban environment. We appreciate Mayor Garcetti and Councilmember Bonin's leadership as well as LAWA's partnership in making this Proposition O project possible."
"This project is critical for reducing stormwater pollution of Santa Monica Bay. This is a great example of how Proposition O has improved water quality in the city's rivers, lakes and coastal waters," said Mark Gold, Acting Director of the UCLA institute of the Environment and Sustainability.
“This is a great example of agencies coming together to support projects that benefit our watersheds holistically. It’s a smart investment that will provide public health dividends in the future,” said Sarah Sikich, Heal the Bay’s Vice President. “We hope it will serve as a reminder for the need to find creative ways to fund projects and programs that benefit water quality, local water reliability, and our watersheds.”
The agreement comprises two components:
-The Argo Drain Sub-Basin Facility will accommodate a watershed area of approximately 2,400 acres, including the Argo Drainage Channel flows that are located on LAWA property, and will transport the flows by gravity to a detention/retention basin. The flows will then be pumped into underground infiltration galleries to recharge the groundwater basin. Most of the elements would be underground with access hatches and ventilation outlets on the surface.
-The Imperial Drainage Basin Project will create a new, high-flow diversion structure on airport land that connects stormwater runoff generated within the Imperial/Pershing sub-basin to a sewer that would connect to the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant.