Should “green streets” be streets?

The $270 million question soon to be put to homeowners by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works is: Will we pay an annual tax of $54 per parcel toward a basin-wide effort to clean at least some of the pollutants swept up in water as it flows from paved surfaces into the storm drain system, rivers and Pacific? This much is clear: We should. This much isn’t: Will we? And, even if we do, will it work before fines over Clean Water Act violations start kicking in and law suits begin?

$270 million a year sounds like a lot until you divide it between 88 cities, a spangling of watershed NGOs and the county Flood Control District. Even if divided proportionately to size of city, the sum starts sounding woefully inadequate considering that alone one storm water park opened in February that was wrought from an

The Clean Water Act applies to the LA River

Have concrete, will create. A painting from last year's exhibit “The Ulysses Guide to the Los Angeles River" at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. For background on the show and grafitti culture of the LA River, click on the image.

The US Environmental Protection Agency has reversed an earlier US Army Corps of Engineers classification of the Los Angeles River as un-navigable, a term that exempted it from protection under the Clean Water Act.

After William Mulholland and Los Angeles tapped Owens Valley and the Eastern Sierra for its water in 1913, in the 1930s, the Corps paved the LA River, the city’s original source. This turned the river into a main drain of a county-wide flood control system. The upshot: Los Angeles drained the Eastern Sierra, destroying the once crystaline Owens Lake and nearly destroying the neighboring Sierra Mono Lake, while the city that Mulholland’s aqueduct

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    Emily Green by e-mail at emily.green [at] mac.com
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