On Wednesday, December 9, 2015, the American Public Works Association (APWA) recognized the City of Torrance Stormwater Basin and Treatment Wetlands Enhancement Design project with the BEST Award for Water Quality at their 16th Annual Awards Luncheon in Lakewood, California.
The Torrance project’s primary goal was to reduced pollution by retaining and treating stormwater runoff affecting the water quality in Santa Monica Bay. CWE enhanced two flood control basins and two treatment wetlands to provide natural water treatment systems, while improving groundwater recharge and infiltration. As designed, the project will reduce the annual pollutant load by approximately 91% in the affected area.
John Dettle, PE, the City’s Project Manager, acknowledged CWE’s contributions to the project, saying, “Thanks to CWE’s contributions, our Stormwater Basin Enhancement Project is one that we are proud of, that will help us comply with the Santa Monica Bay Bacteria, Trash, and Toxics Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) requirements and provide multiple benefits of habitat restoration, trail systems, and an outdoor education site for use by our local schools.”
The project boasts a wide array of benefits, including an outdoor classroom at the Henrietta Basin, recreational and educational improvements at the Entradero Basin, and native habitat restoration across all three locations. Special consideration was taken to protect nesting birds, as well as ensure that the constructed wetlands provide an improved habitat for burrowing owls and legless lizards. Keeping an environmentally conscientious approach, the project also utilizes water treatment to irrigate, reducing potable water use by an estimated 2.8 million gallons annually.
More information on the project is available on the City’s official YouTube channel, where a brief video explains the goals and benefits of the project.
Financial assistance made the project economically feasible. The Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission, through the State Water Resources Control Board, provided $3.3 million in Proposition 84 grant funding. The Bureau of Reclamation provided an additional $300,000 in the form of a Federal WaterSMART grant. The remaining $1.1 million in project expenses were covered by the City.
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