Urban runoff is a real pressing problem. If there’s any city that realizes its toxic effect more than others, it’s Los Angeles. Every day, the City of Angels with its 9.8 million residents, are putting themselves and their beautiful beaches at risk with urban runoff—the stuff we also dub “toxic soup of water” for its contaminating effects on our once-pristine oceans and rivers.
Urban runoff is also on the up rise. According to Heal the Bay, urban runoff is the largest source of pollution to Southern California’s coastal waters. And biggest bummer of all, it’s the root of all things evil when it comes to swimmers and surfers catching anything, from pneumonia to hepatitis from sewage-contaminated water caused in part by urban runoff. Urban runoff has been shown to carry things such as motor oil, carwash soap, plastic, pesticides, feces, cigarette butts and all kinds of nasty industrial pollutants to the big blue.
True, our cities are safe from becoming flooded during rainy seasons because of our storm drain systems. But the problem with these nifty drain systems is that the water—whether it’s caused from rain, sprinklers or a neighbor’s hose—can carry with it everything it touches. And unlike sewer systems, which treat soiled water before it ever sees the Pacific, drain systems pour straight into our oceans and rivers. Syringes in the oceans anyone?
Wanna know what you can do to prevent more urban runoff?
This October, the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board will be deciding on a new storm water permit. Local grassroots group Heal the Bay is collecting votes (over 1,000 to date) for Take LA By Storm, a petition to urge the regional board to adopt a permit to support a cleaner way to handle urban runoff and put cleaner ocean water at the forefront of everyone’s concerns.
Cast your support here, today and help end further damage to our oceans by urban runoff. Look out for a final decision by the board in September 2012.
For more deets about Heal the Bay’s efforts on urban runoff and how to prevent urban runoff, visit Heal the Bay.
—by Sarah McClure