Ballona Creek is expected to see a significant reduction of runoff discharges under a City of Los Angeles program to capture rainwater for efficient local use, according to the city Department of Public Works.

The city’s “Downspout Disconnection” program, which begins this month, is intended to reduce the amount of contaminated stormwater that flows into and pollutes local water bodies.

The city Bureau of Sanitation Stormwater Program is overseeing the Downspout Disconnection initiative that involves rerouting residential roof runoff from the stormwater collection system to on-site pervious areas, infiltration planters and/or rain barrels.

The anticipated result of the program is the reduction of runoff discharges to Ballona Creek by more than one million cubic feet, according to research conducted by the city’s environmental engineering firm Malcolm Prinie.

“Through this effort, the city addresses stormwater pollution at the source, rather than reacting to its outcome,” said Wing Tam of the Bureau of Sanitation Stormwater Program.

“The project also localizes a citywide issue to specific neighborhoods, empowering property owners, neighborhood associations and the roofing industry to become part of the solution and participate in their own stormwater capture through the available methods.”

Disconnecting downspouts allows rainwater to drain to lawns and gardens. This becomes a more natural way to manage roof runoff, allowing water to soak into the ground and using plants and soil to filter pollutants, public works officials said. Rain barrels capture large amounts of fresh rainwater to be used for future landscaping and lawn maintenance.

Residents of the Jefferson and Sawtelle Boulevard areas will be the first to participate in the city’s Downspout Disconnection program. Los Angeles residents are encouraged to help prevent flooding and protect the environment from stormwater pollution by following suggestions including:

— sweeping driveways instead of hosing them down;

— always throwing trash in a waste receptacle or recycling bin;

— not watering outdoor plants and/or lawns on rainy days to conserve water and prevent flooding on streets;

— cleaning up after pets; and

— keeping cigarette butts off the ground and in ash trays.

Information on the Los Angeles Stormwater Program, www.LA stormwater.org/.

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