Rainfall Record Spreads Sewage

These Biblical rains have wiped the city clean; yesterday as I was driving to school for the first time after the rain stopped, the sky seemed extra-clear, and the roads seemed extra-sparkly. Like the rain had just taken the pollution away for a little while.

Of course all that filth had to go somewhere; here’s an LA Times piece “Rain Overwhelms Sewage System” – Massive amounts of runoff cause wastewater to overflow from pipes and treatment plants, fouling Southland waterways and beaches. It doesn’t sound pretty; especially this little moment here, where a luncheon to celebrate the city was surrounded by raw sewage:

On Tuesday, raw sewage could be seen spilling onto the shoreline near the Aquarium of the Pacific and the Long Beach Convention Center, which was playing host to the popular annual State of the City luncheon. Dr. [Darryl M. Sexton, Long Beach’s health officer] said it was much better to stay indoors during the event.

Is it silly to wonder if the rains will cause some retrofitting of sewage systems, and even moreso, that they might lead to some greater environmental protection for the beaches? I’m relatively new to town here, and I love the urban wisdom I was handed – don’t swim for days after it rains. And then to read about the piles of trash that accumulate there. We’ve adapted our behaviour on the avoidance side; I wonder what it would take for prevention.

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