Break into the “extreme test” of the LA waste pickup guarding the Pacific Ocean

the weather river storm Arrival in California this week offers a test run of an experimental waste collection system aimed at preventing plastic bottles, diapers and other trash from flowing into the Pacific Ocean. She even took over a sofa.

The solar-powered system, designed to operate mostly autonomously, was introduced in October at the mouth of Ballona Creek near Playa del Rey.

The Ballona Creek Trash Interceptor 007, one of several devices built by the Dutch nonprofit organization The Ocean Cleanup, is the first such device to be installed in the United States; Another 10 have been deployed globally – eight are operational, two are down for maintenance – and another 10 are scheduled to be deployed this year.

A November 2019 proposal before the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors described the partnership with Ocean Cleanup, a Dutch nonprofit, as a pilot project spanning two storm seasons between October and April.

Ocean Cleanup is not reimbursed, but the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works is supplying the garbage interceptor at taxpayer expense, via the Los Angeles County Flood Fund with support from contractor Ocean Blue.

During the trial, the objector is exempt from the California Environmental Quality Code, a law that requires an assessment of the environmental impacts of development or land use decisions.

After April 2024, Los Angeles County Flood Control will have the option to take control of the interceptor without charge, and “further environmental review may be required,” the movement says.

The unincorporated streets of Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, parts of Los Angeles, Culver City, and Los Angeles County “all feed into a stormwater drainage system that carries water from the road into a storm drain system and out through Ballona Creek,” Los Angeles County Department of Public Works spokesman Kergon said. Lee, for The Times.

The nine-mile-long creek watershed, Lee said, covers an area that is home to about 1.5 million residents. The interceptor collects floating debris a few hundred yards before it is released from the creek, and crews can then send the garbage to a landfill.

About a mile upstream from the Interceptor is the Lincoln trash boom, a net that has been in place for years to catch debris. “Removing the trash is very manual,” he told me during the boom.

Lincoln’s garbage boom required workers with bulldozers, shovels, and other tools to collect the trash that piled up. The net is also designed to break away when the load is too great rather than tear apart, which means that – before the interceptor – heavy rain can dump all the accumulated waste directly into the perimeter.

“Ballona Creek is a straight, long concrete channel,” said Ocean Cleanup’s Director of Communications Jost Dubois. The current rains will test “how the system holds up” with increasing speed, as Interceptor 007 encounters the fastest water of any deployed system: “It’s an extreme test for us,” he said.

A video posted by the nonprofit claimed that during the first major rain event of the season, in November, the system collected more than 35,000 pounds of waste.

the Much larger rainstorms Around the new year it brought rain from 2 to 5 inches in the Los Angeles area, and this week could bring an additional 2 to 4 inches, according to the National Weather Service. These storms mean more runoff through Ballona Creek and Potentially more debris.

Around December 28, the interceptor lost power to the missile due to a technical problem with the solar panels, the project’s county website reported. “Operational challenges aren’t entirely unexpected when deploying a pilot project as innovative as Interceptor 007,” the site said.

Overcast weather caused problems charging the Interceptor’s solar batteries, Lee said, so in preparation for the recent rains, workers ran a gas generator to charge them. Dubois said the operators were hoping to learn from the hiccups they encountered in the Interceptor’s first season.

The Ocean Cleanup began with a viral TedX talk and subsequent crowdfunding campaign that has raised millions in donations. Since 2019, the project has deployed machines trying to clean up the A large garbage patch in the Pacific Oceanlocated between Hawaii and California, and to prevent garbage carried in rivers from entering the oceans.

Their goal is to remove 90% of all plastic floating in the world’s oceans by 2040. Most of the funding for the project comes from private donors, DuBois said, and from shipping giants Maersk and Coca-Cola.

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