Wednesday, October 5, 2011

FIRST FLUSH! Pico Blvd. Storm Drain - Oct. 5, 2011

Pico Blvd. storm drain
trash collected for 20 minutes
21.9 POUNDS!

It rained in Santa Monica today. It was the first solid day of rain we have had in months. Fall has arrived, and with it what we call the First Flush. The First Flush is when all the crap that has been backing up on the city of Los Angeles storm drains gets flushed through to the ocean. Yummy. 

One of the first piles of trash I saw was this mound of plastic bottles collecting in a corner behind a fence where I couldn't reach. 

Next was this image. It amused me to see so many recreational balls gathered. I imagined how many pick up games saw their end when the ball dropped into a gaping storm drain hole in the street. 
Had they spent all summer pent up in the sweltering heat, waiting to be released today?

But that was the end of my amusement. Multiply this stretch of beach for as far as the eye could see. 

Some foam with your noodles?

The water raged to the ocean. 

It looked like you would be swept away if you ended up in that river of refuse. 

Behind me, the storm drain, and a few fancy - like-400-dollars-a-night-fancy hotels...

In front of me, the Santa Monica Bay which is now trashed for days. 

I started my 20 minute timer once I'd taken these photos.

In 5 minutes I had collected 10.3 pounds


5 min. - 10.3 pounds

the remaining 15 (after I had to empty my bag teaming over with trash) 
11.6 pounds - total - 21.9 pounds. 

That's over a pound a minute. Not to mention the weight of the bacteria hitching a ride in the foam on my clothes, or other funk stuck to my boots. Did I mention the smell???

When I saw my friend Dan later, he said there had been a sewer spill up the street earlier in the day. 

Day 222 - Oct. 4, 2011

life guard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
5.3 pounds collected
833.1 pounds total

As I write this morning, it is raining in Santa Monica. Rain, especially the first real downpour after the dry season is nicknamed - The First Flush. It was exactly a year ago that the First Flush came to town. Team Marine from Santa Monica High School was there to document it. 

In LA County, it is recommended that you do not enter the water for 3 days after a heavy rain. Santa Monica High's Teach and Test Club has documented bacteria levels that exceed 100 times the legal limit for human safety in the water. They test bacteria levels at the Santa Monica Sport Fishing Pier, the Pico/Kenter Storm Drain and Tower 26 (here).

While the birds and other animals  might be enjoying the fresh water down pour, I am b-u-m-m-e-d. Have I said it too many times already? I have to stay out of the water for 3 DAYS! Something is very seriously wrong with that. 

I ran into my friend Mary at the beach last night. She was out on the beach Friday night as I watched the sunset from home because of a teeny bit of thunder. Here is the link to her FB page so you too can appreciate the sky that night. She's a very good photographer and artist. 

As Mary said, it is the start of "Sunset Season" and the rainy is what the beach looked like as I left the sand last night. If you compare it to the first picture in this post, you can see the difference.