Beach Break: Pump It Up

The Grunion Gazette and Press Telegram have been be trumpeting the success of the water department's quick fix for the estimated 90,000+ gallons of polluted storm drain water being pumped directly into Alamitos Bay (widely known for its poor water quality) every day. Too bad the victory over the pollution will be short lived.

Sorry folks, but come September the water will be right back where it was, floating in the popular recreational area.

According to Kevin Wattier, co-chair of the Water Quality Task Force, the two installed pump diversion systems, which divert storm drain water from flowing directly into the bay to flowing into the sewer system instead, will be shut off after September because storm drain water is "less polluted" in the winter months largely due to the fact that there is more water to dilute the animal feces, oil, and trash than there is in the summer.

Not only will the pump diversion systems be shut down in September, but the system will be completely removed from one of the locations, The Belmont Pump Station. The LA County Sanitation Department, who installed the pump diversion system at the Belmont location, can remove it at any time and, according to Wattier, the system will not be in place during winter months and definitely will not be returning next summer.

Too bad, because in the two weeks since the diversion systems were installed at the two of eight storm drain stations emptying into Alamitos Bay, the water quality has vastly improved.

Tests conducted by the city Health Department show that in the first week, seven of the bay water testing points showed bacteria levels well within the acceptable range. Colorado Lagoon was excluded from the testing and the samples from Mother’s Beach were high in fecal coloforms on Monday, but on the whole, the water is testing better than it have in previous months.

When asked how much of the bay's pollution is caused by storm water draining into the bay, Wattier noted that testing of that manner had never been studied and that it would involve a “very complicated scientific analysis that we just haven't got around to yet.”

So come September lets all remember not to swim in Alamitos Bay, or to get some Hepatitis vaccinations before we do.


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