Sharon McNary

Infrastructure Correspondent

Contact Sharon McNary

Infrastructure is what we build together to make life better (and the things that break). My role is to reveal the often-surprising and important systems that make life possible in and around L.A.

Stories by Sharon McNary

When LA County captures stormwater, here's where it goes

When it rains, the Los Angeles County Flood Control system mainly works to channel stormwater runoff to the ocean. But about 28 percent of that rain is captured before it's lost to the Pacific.

The nerve center for stormy L.A.

During a storm, when roads are flooding and mud is flowing, critical decisions get made at the Los Angeles County Public Works operations center in Alhambra.

Most of Montecito's hiking trails reclaimed from the mud

The mudslide that destroyed homes and lives in Montecito last January buried the area’s popular hiking trails under debris and boulders. But nearly a year later, most trails are re-opened, thanks to volunteers, donations, and some carefully placed explosives.

AQMD reviewing new toxic chemical leak at Torrance Refinery

Air quality inspectors were at the Torrance Refinery Monday following up on a toxic chemical spill over the weekend.  Five gallons of Modified Hydrofluoric Acid leaked from a hose as it was being transferred from a tanker truck to a container at the Torrance Refinery.

Woolsey Fire victims say they are facing escalating rents

Nearly a month after the Woolsey Fire was contained, some families whose homes burned are still couch-surfing, staying in hotels, and struggling to find interim homes to live in. Escalating rents in an area with already-low rental vacancy rates mean some insurance policies may not stretch to cover replacement rentals.

This hiking spot is being cleared to reduce a flood threat

In Pasadena, the Hahamongna Watershed Park behind Devil's Gate Dam is a hidden gem of a hiking area, filled with trees and plants.

Fire officials' dilemma: How to deal with those who defy evacuation orders

It happens in every big wildfire. Officials issue mandatory evacuation orders, but some people stay behind and try to save their homes. Sometimes they succeed, and that raises a policy question that firefighters would rather not confront.

SoCal Edison is pushing to cut the fire risk from its power lines

Investigators have not yet determined the cause of the Woolsey fire, but one of the things they're looking at is a brief outage Nov. 8 at a Southern California Edison substation in Ventura County that occurred two minutes before the fire was reported nearby.

Studio City residents object to new aircraft noise from Burbank Airport

Some valley residents are noticing more noise from airplanes leaving Burbank Airport. The historic flight paths changed recently and more changes are in store. And that is ramping up community concerns that will be heard by airport officials Thursday night.

Cheaper Gas Or Better Roads? This Is The Prop 6 Question

Proposition 6 on the November ballot would roll back California’s year-old gas tax and new vehicle fees. They are on track to add more than $5 billion a year to state and local budgets for road construction and transportation projects.

Wireless emergency alert will buzz your phone, no opting out

You can ignore President Donald Trump's frequent tweets as much as you'd like, but at 11:18 a.m. Pacific time Wednesday October 3rd, your cell phone will pulse and buzz with a Presidential Alert.

Year of squatter complaints led to raid on Hollywood Blvd. building

High rents in Los Angeles force some to seek out unconventional living arrangements, but dozens of people who found inexpensive space in a Hollywood office building are on the streets following a raid by city officials.

LAX simulates power outage to test backup power systems

If a regional blackout hit LAX, only two of the airport’s terminals have the backup power systems sufficient to keep planes and passengers moving. Early Wednesday, airport operators cut off power to Terminal 2 to test how well it could function on backup power.

Supes move closer to putting measure on ballot to give Sheriff's watchdog subpoena power

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors moved a step closer to putting a measure before voters that would give the Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission subpoena power.

Southern California Edison wants to bill ratepayers $600 million for fire prevention changes

Power lines operated by big utilities have sparked some of California's largest fires. Southern California Edison has announced its plan to raise nearly $600 million from ratepayers to make those fires less likely.