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Tons of L.A. River trash to be captured before hitting the sea

November 1, 2011 |  4:57 pm

TrashTons of trash normally swept to the ocean by the Los Angeles River should be captured by thousands of trash screens that have been installed beneath nearly every storm drain in the lower reaches of the river.

The project is believed to be the largest debris-capturing effort in the nation and marks the most aggressive attack yet on river trash in the Los Angeles region.

The project spans 16 cities and is expected to keep 840,000 pounds of debris -- the equivalent of about 450 Volkswagen Beetles -- from reaching the ocean each year, according to the Gateway Authority, a coalition of cities and public water agencies in southeastern L.A. County.

The biggest winner from the project is Long Beach, where workers routinely have to scoop floating islands of plastic bottles, grocery bags and other debris flowing from dozens of communities upstream before it litters the city’s coastline.

In August 2010, crews began installing the stainless-steel, full-capture trash devices inside nearly 12,000 catch basins.

The simple mesh contraptions sit just below the drains where water from city streets flows into the storm-water system and can catch debris as small as a cigarette butt.

Another 5,400 drains in the most-littered areas also were outfitted with street-level retractable screens as a second layer of defense.

For complete story, see LANow.

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--Tony Barboza

Photo: Tons of trash and debris pushed toward Long Beach along the L.A.River. Credit: Rick Loomis

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