Storm drains dump untreated, unsafe water on our beaches – Heal the Bay’s Storm Response Team gives you the safety guidelines to get out a cleanup and stop the trash before it reaches our marine life neighbors at the coastline.
EACH TIME IT RAINS, the Los Angeles storm drain system rushes untreated water and all the debris that litters our streets, gutters, and sidewalks right into our beaches and coastline. Cleaning up the mess made by these trash-freeways in our community calls for the help of our trusty Storm Response Team! Made up of Heal the Bay staff and dedicated volunteers, the Storm Response Team acts as the last line of defense, removing garbage washed out of the storm drain system and local waterways before it reaches the ocean. Interested in conducting your own Storm Response Team deployment? Please remember to stay safe and follow our extended self-guided cleanup safety tips for post-storm and atmospheric river conditions.
📄 Download: Self-Guided Cleanup Tips – Storm Response and Atmospheric River Conditions
When the call goes out, the Team puts on their rubber boots, gloves, and raincoats and goes out during low tide or during a break in the rain to local catch basins and outfalls, gathering as much trash as they can. Pollution and litter upstream are swept through the system and, while the Heal the Bay team attempts to get out there quickly, a barrage of atmospheric rivers dousing our southland can make it extremely difficult to stave the flow of trash, debris, and unsafe particulates. We are encouraged by the volunteers who have reached out about helping to do individual clean ups, but we must warn that it is a filthy job and volunteers should proceed with caution.
Heal the Bay is constantly advocating for upstream solutions that would stop the flow of pollution into our local waterways and prevent the need for storm response teams in the future. Reducing single-use plastics and polystyrene, the technical term for products commonly referred to as styrofoam, has a significant impact on reducing the amount of trash that reaches our oceans.
Heal the Bay also supports efforts to collect, treat, and use stormwater. Measure W, passed in 2018, provides funding for local stormwater capture, treatment, and reuse projects. These efforts will drastically reduce our reliance on imported water, reduce pollution in our local waterways and coastal waters, and reduce risks to public health.
👉 Get caught up: Learn more about Heal the Bay’s efforts in getting Measure W passed and it’s implementation.
Tips for all Angelenos during #LARain:
- Stay out of the water. The County of Los Angeles Environmental Health Department and Heal the Bay urge residents and visitors to avoid water contact at Los Angeles County beaches for at least 72 hours following rain event. Check our Beach Report Card website or app before your next swim along the coast.
- Avoid low-lying areas and stay up to date on all local weather alerts
- Know the flow. Test your water knowledge, and share insights about rainwater runoff and where Los Angeles gets its water in your community.
DOWNLOAD STORM CLEANUP SAFETY TIPS
Written by Stephanie Gebhardt. As our Beach Programs Manager, Stephanie organizes Heal the Bay’s beach cleanups and community beautification projects. With experience in sustainability consulting and science communication, she unites Angelenos in protecting what they love.