Los Angeles Water Board sets new stormwater pollution limits

In an effort to control pollution in urban runoff, the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board adopted a new MS4 permit that sets new limits on the amount of pollution discharged into the region’s storm drains.

The permit gives cities and counties the time and flexibility to choose, plan and construct stormwater projects that are appropriate for local conditions and generate other social, economic and water resource benefits such as creation of more parks and green spaces, clean streets, improved wildlife habitat and jobs.

“This is a very comprehensive, forward-thinking action to protect the health of our waters and our people,” said Lawrence Yee, chair of the Los Angeles Water Board. “The board worked hard to ensure equity for all communities and to require a level of transparency the public can understand.”

As one of the most heavily urbanized areas in the country, the rivers, lakes and beaches are significantly impacted by stormwater runoff that flows over land, collects pollutants and transports them to these water bodies via the region’s complex storm drain system. Urban runoff during dry periods from landscape irrigation, construction projects and car washing also carries pollutants through the storm drains to surface waters.

The board reached its decision following four days of hearings that included testimony from the cities and counties subject to the permit, environmental organizations and other interested stakeholders.

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