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Got storm water? L.A. now has standardized plans for runoff infiltration

June 30, 2010 | 12:40 pm

InfiltrationplanterDuring the rainy season, the city of L.A. sends 100 million gallons of untreated runoff into the Pacific Ocean.

Tuesday, the city's engineering department signed off on six standard plans that can be used to prevent some of the flow coming from parkways, highways, alleyways and cemented curb areas and divert it into the ground where it can recharge groundwater and prevent pollutants from reaching waterways. The plans give specific guidelines for installing swales, vegetation, permeable pavement and other systems to prevent storm water from flowing over nonporous surfaces into storm drains.

"What we're trying to do here is take storm water or urban runoff and infiltrate it in streets or alleys and make it consistent so that people aren't frustrated with trying to do something innovative," said Gary Moore, engineer for the city of L.A. "We've developed standard plans, we've done the details, we've done the engineering to enable the city or a developer to use the plans to implement the desired solution."

Developed in partnership with the city's Board of Public Works, Bureau of Sanitation and Bureau of Engineering, the standard plans have been in the works for six months and will be available for free online starting July 9 at

"There are more than 6,500 miles of streets in Los Angeles," Moore said of the plans that will be used for street reconstruction, street widening, landscape medians and other projects. "There's a lot of potential."

-- Susan Carpenter

Photo: Don Kelsen / Los Angeles Times