LA Times: Looming rains could turn L.A.'s roadside trash into a hazard for storm drain screens

Check out this recent LA Times story by David Zahniser about El Niño and the concern for public safety featuring CWEA member Adel Hagekhalil of LA Bureau of Sanitation.

L.A.’s proliferation of roadside garbage — abandoned couches, futons and other items left on public property — resurfaced in 2014 as a major topic of concern for city leaders. But with El Niño and the prospect of heavy rains looming, it turns out the trash isn’t just considered an eyesore. It’s also a potential public safety risk, said Adel Hagekhalil, assistant director of the city’s Bureau of Sanitation.

So far this rainy season, sanitation crews have cleaned all 40,000 of the city’s catch basins and removed debris from the screens that frequently cover the openings. Still, those catch basins could be blocked again the next time a torrential rain washes sopping wet seat cushions, construction debris and other items into the gutters.

In recent weeks, Hagekhalil has been promoting the sanitation bureau’s 24-hour hotline, (800) 773-2489, as a way for the public to report illegal dumping and jammed-up catch basins. Because of El Niño, the hotline’s hours were expanded, he said. “We are looking at areas that are susceptible to flooding, and we are dependent on people calling us and letting us know,” he said.

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Megan Barillo

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