LONG BEACH - Officials from local cities and municipalities gathered in Long Beach on Tuesday for a groundbreaking ceremony where they detailed a plan to clean up the massive amount of trash commonly found on area beaches after a rain storm.The year-long project, commonly known as the Gateway Drain Catch Basin Retrofit Project, calls for the installation of trash and debris systems within catch basins along the Los Angeles River. The project, which will be paid for using $10 million in federal stimulus funds, helps the 16 gateway cities to fully comply with the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board's Total Maximum Daily Load. "This is great news for our Gateway Region," said Chris Cash, chair of the Gateway Authority, which is the administrative entity the 16 cities formed to administer the project. "The $10 million grant will defray 100 percent of the cost of designing and installing the trash-capturing devices. We are investing in environmental protection infrastructure that will provide long-term quality-of-life benefits." Downey city officials, who were in Long Beach for the groundbreaking, credited deputy city manager Desi Alvarez for getting the project "through the maze of approvals." "Without the individual leadership of Downey's deputy city manager, Desi Alvarez, this project may have never come to fruition," said Mayor Pro Tem Luis Marquez. "Downey has once again put the region first in authorizing our experienced and dedicates staff to work on a project which spans beyond our borders." Councilman Mario Guerra, who chairs the city's Green Task Force, said the project is "just another example of Downey putting our efforts where we know they will do the most good for the environment, not only in Downey, but in the entire region." "The fact Downey is out front in supporting and authorizing staff time to bring such a project to the region is no accident," he said. "The city has a long history of supporting environmental programs, most recently demonstrated by the issuance of the city's first Green Task Force final report. While this project will prevent 4,000 tons of trash from entering the ocean, Downey will not rest on our successes and will continue to support local and regional projects in an effort to protect the environment." Cities that will receive the catch basin inserts are (roughly north to south): Montebello, Pico Rivera, Vernon, Maywood, Commerce, Huntington Park, Bell, Cudahy, Bell Gardens, South Gate, Downey, Lynwood, Paramount, Compton, Signal Hill and Long Beach.
********** Published: August 5, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 16