New Plan to Reduce Pollution in L.A. Waterways

New pollution reduction plans announced today for Los Angeles area waterways culminate a 13-year effort to eliminate beach closures and reduce trash and toxic chemicals.

Announced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board, the plans are the latest in a series of pollution reduction strategies aimed at improving water quality, restoring ecosystems and protecting public health in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

“EPA and our partners have achieved a breakthrough on the path toward restoring the health of Los Angeles’ creeks, streams, and beaches,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest.

The pollution plans call for reductions in the amount of bacteria, nitrogen, phosphorus, mercury, pesticides and other toxic chemicals that affect 175 waterways in the area. More than 95% of the impaired waters will meet applicable water quality standards once the plans are fully implemented.

Under the federal Clean Water Act, states are required to develop pollution reduction plans for waters that are impaired by pollutants.  These plans are called Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs), and must be approved by the EPA. 

Today’s announcement is a part of a 1999 legal settlement between EPA and local environmental groups in which EPA committed to approve LA Water Board-developed TMDLs or independently establish TMDLs for a list of water bodies in the Los Angeles Region. 

As a result of the consent decree, 47 TMDLs have been established for 175 water bodies that address numerous pollutant impairments including elevated bacteria, metals, pesticides, PCBs and trash. Additional TMDLs will be approved or established within the next year.

Learn more about the pollution reduction plans here.