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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
Nuclear waste cleanup at the San Onofre nuclear power plant has been on hold since last summer after a mishap involving a 50-ton container of radioactive material.
When work crews hired by Southern California Edison cut back the canopy of shade trees in unincorporated Altadena last month, many residents of the foothill community were angered that their trees were left unsightly and mangled.
The Ventura County Fire Department has determined that power lines were the cause of the Thomas Fire that ravaged the area in December 2017.
The fire started amid high winds that caused parallel power lines to slap into each other, creating an electrical arc that ignited flammable bits of molten aluminum on the ground, which then ignited dry vegetation.
Nearly one million Southern California Edison customers have been opted into something called the Clean Power Alliance, agovernment entity that can buy power directly on the open energy market and ship it to consumers on existing Edison power lines.
"This is the beginning of the end of natural gas for the LADWP."
An oil well blew earlier this month at a hotel construction site in Marina del Rey. It took county officials more than a week to inform local residents.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In Pasadena, the Hahamongna Watershed Park behind Devil's Gate Dam is a hidden gem of a hiking area, filled with trees and plants.
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.
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.