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Pipe Dream Takes Shape


By Lookout Staff

April 3 -- The City is taking a major step towards cleaning up one of California’s most polluted beaches by laying the first lengths of pipe to divert dry weather runoff under the Santa Monica Pier.

Bankrolled with funds from Proposition V -- a 2006 parcel tax approved by Santa Monica voters to help clean up Santa Monica beaches -- the Pier Storm Drain Improvements and Dry Weather Diversion Project will replace a decaying drain that carries runoff from the thriving Downtown business district.

The original storm drain was severely corroded, leading to occasional pooling of stagnant water under the Pier from runoff. (Images courtesy of the City of Santa Monica)

The leaky drain, which doesn’t reach the surf, has contributed to high levels of bacterial pollution that has made the water around the pier unsafe for swimming and earned it repeated F grades on Hel the Bay’s End of Summer report card.

By comparison, new diversion systems installed at other beaches along Santa Monica’s coastline have contributed to near-perfect grades.

The new 60” diameter high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe replaces a corrugated metal pipe that was installed during the 1950s, according to City officials.

“Over time the metal pipe had severely corroded in the marine environment, leading to unintended discharge and pooling of urban runoff,” City officials said.

Crews under the Pier remove the original pipe, install new concrete anchors for the new drain.


The new storm drain – which will capture all dry weather runoff and divert it to a nearby sewer in Ocean Front Walk -- is expected to last for more than a century, officials said.

The dry season runoff comes from residents and businesses who routinely water down paved areas, wash cars and water lawns and gardens, according to City officials.

After the pipe is laid, a concrete “outfall structure” will be installed to collect the water from the pipe. Water running through the corroded half-century-old pipe was pooling and stagnating at the end of the line and infiltrating into the sand.

New drain pipe arrives.

Construction is expected to be completed by June 1.

Another project funded by Measure V, which was narrowly approved by voters in November 2006, will install facilities to pump the runoff back up to the SMURRF facility during the rainy season, officials said.

The water would then be used for irrigation and other recycled uses. The project is currently in the concept phase.





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