October 31, 2008

With Storm Season Approaching, the County of Los Angeles Advises Residents to Keep Their Street Gutters Clean

Storm season is just around the corner. If left unchecked, the litter, leaves, and automobile fluids that have collected on the street surfaces of our communities will flow along with rainwater, untreated, into water bodies like the Los Angeles River and the ocean.

The County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works (Public Works) urges residents to take a few minutes now to sweep up cigarette butts, leaves, lawn clippings, and trash from the street gutters near their homes. Green waste and litter laying in street gutters can travel with rainwater into storm drains, polluting local communities, as well as creeks, rivers, lakes, streams and the ocean.

"Street gutters and storm drains are designed to remove rainwater and prevent flooding," said Public Works Acting Director, Dean D. Efstathiou. "When litter and green waste are allowed to enter the County's storm drain system, there can be serious health and safety consequences for humans and marine life that come in contact with these pollutants."

Nearly 100 million gallons of water flow through the County's storm drain system each day without rain. Rainy days can increase the volume of water within the system to 10 billion gallons per day.

Public Works offers these tips to help prevent stormwater pollution:

 --  Don't put anything in street gutters and catch basins but rainwater.     It is everyone's responsibility to make sure storm drains and other     waterways remain free of pollutants. --  Put trash in its place. Recycle bottles and cans and never drop     cigarette butts or other litter on the ground. Street gutters filled with     trash and green waste increase neighborhood pollution and clog storm     drains, causing street flooding, as well as health and safety issues for     residents. --  Pick up after your pet. Animal waste left on the ground can wash into     storm drains and contaminates beaches and other water bodies. Proper     disposal of pet waste also helps protect pets and humans from disease, and     it is the law.  Pet owners who disregard this County ordinance can be     fined. --  Be smart when you apply pesticides or fertilizers.  Do not apply     pesticides or fertilizers before it rains, and don't over-water after     application. Always read the label and apply only the amount recommended. --  Tie down your truck loads.  Trash can easily fly out of truck beds and     end up on the street and in gutters. Keep your truck bed litter-free, and     always tie down loads of green waste and other materials.      

For additional information, call the County's toll-free environmental hotline, 1(888) CLEAN LA, or visit www.888CleanLA.com.

About the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works

County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works services include road and flood control system maintenance, construction programs, building and safety services, traffic signals and street signs. The County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works also oversees public education and information programs designed to reach the 10 million residents of the County of Los Angeles with crucial messages about protecting the environment. These programs are part of a comprehensive effort to help residents understand the impact they have on the environment and the steps they can take to protect and improve it.

 Media Contact: Patricia Condon Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide 310/248-6147 Email Contact

SOURCE: County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works