Two clogged storm drains flooded streets in downtown Playa del Rey with as much as three feet of water during Saturday’s rainstorm and forced the temporary closure of Caffe Pinguini Italian Restaurant.

“Our crews unblocked a 30-inch drain, but it turns out that the bigger problem was a 72-inch drain near the intersection of Trolleyway and Culver Boulevard. There is still some blockage in the last 200 feet of the drain [near the shoreline] that is likely clogged with sand. Our crews will be working around the clock to unblock the drain,” L.A. County Dept. of Public Works spokesman Kerjon Lee said Tuesday.

Lee said the county will provide nearby residents with sandbags prior to this weekend, when more rain is expected.

County workers snake a sand-clogged drain on the beach Photo courtesy of Public Works

County workers snake a sand-clogged drain on the beach
Photo courtesy of Public Works

After receiving numerous calls and emails from anxious Playa del Rey residents, L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin called on the Los Angeles Emergency Management Dept. to investigate local flooding conditions.

“[Saturday] night we got a preview of what El Niño might be like for Playa del Rey — and it was not good. With not particularly powerful rains or a particularly lengthy storm, I am receiving reports of significant flooding,” Bonin wrote in an email to department managers.

“The underground parking of local condos and apartments flooded. Residents report portions of Trolleyway flooded with water at least a foot or two deep. Water at Culver [Boulevard] and Trolleyway was reportedly knee deep. This happened despite city and county agencies recently cleaning clogged storm drains,” the letter concluded.

Rumors that flooding had involved raw sewage backup were unfounded, according to an internal report that L.A. Bureau of Sanitation Director Enrique Zaldivar sent to Bonin.

— Gary Walker