Pacific Swell

Southern California environment news and trends

LA regional water regulators to consider stormwater runoff rules

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Regional water regulators will consider new rules tomorrow to limit pollution in stormwater runoff in most of L.A. County and part of Ventura County.

 The L.A. Regional Water Quality Control Board is finalizing standards for 84 cities in the L.A. watershed region, and for developers who would want to build in those cities.

 The proposed rules promote what’s called green infrastructure – systems that capture water as close to where it falls as possible. That includes innovations such as rainbarrels and permeable pavement, which lets water filter into the ground.

A couple of years ago I explored how Ventura was wrestling with these issues.

Officials from some cities in L.A. County have told the L.A. Regional Water Quality Control Board that tougher rules on stormwater runoff will bust their budgets.

Environmentalists have a different view. "We’re hearing these complaints that the regulations go too far," says Kirsten James of Heal the Bay.  "But we contend that they don’t go far enough." 

James disputes the cities’ cost estimates, and says in any event, since stormwater is the number one source of coastal pollution, the issue is too important to ignore.

Environmentalists  and public health officials say stormwater pollution disrupts the coastal food chain, contaminates beaches and causes health problems among beachgoers.

 The LA water regulators say they want to finalize the stormwater rules by the end of the year. 


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