Hermosa Beach Pier Ave. Project

Hermosa Beach to Apply $1.3 M, LID Tools for Stormwater Project

The City of Hermosa Beach, Calif., will use nearly $1.3 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding to improve stormwater management through a "Greenstreet" retrofit of Pier Avenue.

The funding came through the Clean Water State Revolving Loan program via the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and State Water Resources Control Board. The infiltration and storm-drain elements are different from traditional stormwater management systems. In Southern California, urban stormwater runoff is the No. 1 cause of pollution in coastal waters. Stormwater runoff is made worse by the density of impervious surfaces in urban areas like roads, buildings and parking lots.

“The City of Hermosa Beach should be commended for applying innovative low impact development (LID) tools to address urban runoff and protect beach users,” said John Kemmerer, associate Water Division director for EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “Retrofit projects like this are particularly challenging.”

The Pier Avenue Improvement project includes a new storm drain system designed to address existing flooding problems and reduce stormwater pollution to the nearby beach. The new drainage system will incorporate an innovative infiltration system that will retain stormwater runoff, irrigate new drought-tolerant landscaping and divert runoff that would otherwise end up in the ocean. An exciting green feature of this project is its use of reclaimed water service for this and future landscape irrigation in the downtown area.

Low impact development tools mimic natural hydrologic conditions, and include increasing permeable, vegetated areas to assist the infiltration and evapotranspiration of stormwater, in turn minimizing the volume of stormwater discharges. By using LID tools, managers lower pollutant flows and minimize the need for more expensive traditional treatment.

In Hermosa, beaches are impaired because they exceed the state’s bacteria standard. This retrofit project is designed to reduce discharges of bacteria-laden stormwater. It also includes features to control trash that would otherwise be discharged to the ocean.

Hermosa Beach is simultaneously making additional improvements as a part of this project, but these are not supported by stimulus funding. These improvements also incorporate multiple public benefits, including widening of pedestrian walkways, safe pedestrian street crossings with solar-powered flashers, pedestrian refuges with benches, street improvements such as shared bikeways and parking for bikes and mopeds, new high-efficiency street lighting, and a transit stop for bus service. The total cost of the project is anticipated to be approximately $4.8 million.

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