The City of Los Angeles Department of Public Works Bureaus of Engineering and Sanitation have proposed a water qual- ity improvement project in the Westchester and Playa del Rey area to reduce the amount of stormwater pollution that reaches Santa Monica Bay.

The proposed project site is on the property of Los Angeles World Airports, the city agency that operates Los Angeles International Airport, near Pershing Drive and Westchester Parkway in Playa del Rey. Construction is scheduled to begin early next year and last for about a year.

The $32.7-million project is aimed to help the city meet Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and federal Clean Water Act requirements in the Westchester and Playa del Rey communities. The project is to be funded through Proposition O, which was approved by Los Angeles voters in 2004 and funds projects to protect public health by cleaning up pollution in the city’s watercourses in order to meet Federal Clean Water Act requirements.

Under the Westchester-LAX Stormwater Best Management Practices Project an infiltration system will be installed that is designed to remove harmful pollutants from stormwater runoff. The project is intended to remove bacteria and other pollutants, such as trash, oil, grease, metals and pesticides from urban runoff and keep them from entering beaches and coastal waters, public works officials said.

Stormwater runoff has led to beach closures and posed public health risks, public works officials note.

The Proposition O project will help improve the water quality of low-flow and wet-weather runoff from an existing storm drain system and reduce the amount of pollution that enters Dockweiler State Beach in Playa del Rey.

“The construction of water quality improvement projects funded by Prop O will allow the city to reduce the level of pollutants entering the ocean to assist in meeting the Total Maximum Daily Load or (TMDL) requirements that comply with the federal Clean Water Act,” said Cynthia M. Ruiz, president of the Board of Public Works. “Critical to our success is the public’s acceptance for the installation of Prop O projects that protect the public’s health and marine life, improve coastal water quality, and the recreational use of our shorelines used by millions of beachgoers annually.”

The project will intercept stormwater runoff from a 2,400-acre drainage area that currently empties directly into the ocean at Dockweiler Beach.

The intercepted runoff will be diverted through a conveyance

system that includes debris removal, detention to settle pollutants and infiltration of runoff water, said Jimmy Tokeshi, public works spokesman.

The completed project will be installed completely underground with some surface features and the surface area above the site will be restored so it will be similar to its current condition, Tokeshi said.

Later this month project engineers plan to assess the soil conditions at the proposed site for the environmental clearance associated with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The city also plans to coordinate with Los Angeles World Airports on a National Environmental Policy Act document in accordance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements to incorporate safety restrictions.

Regulators have recently moved to enforce the federally mandated limits on the daily discharge of bacteria and pollutants that enter the oceans and regional watersheds. Fines of up to $25,000 per day for each violation have been threatened if cities continue to exceed the total maximum daily load for bacterial limits established by the Clean Water Act.

The construction and implementation of Proposition O projects, such as the Westchester-LAX stormwater project, will help to significantly reduce the number of days that water quality standards are exceeded at Dockweiler Beach and Santa Monica Bay, public works officials said.

Information about the Proposition O Clean Water Bond program,