By Lyn Jensen, Carson Reporter
Carson is undertaking the Carriage Crest Park Stormwater Capture Project, an effort to improve water quality, in compliance with a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination permit under the Environmental Protection Agency. The project is designed to capture stormwater from about 1,100 acres of the Dominguez Watershed, which drains into the Dominguez Channel that runs through the middle of Carson.
Carriage Crest Park, owned and operated by Carson, was identified by water authorities as a site for a regional stormwater capture project due to its proximity to a storm-drain junction, two potential diversion points, and its potential for multijurisdictional partnership.
Julio Gonzalez, sustainability administrator for the City of Carson, says water is being drained from the surface of the park into underground stormwater chambers, and then pumped into the sewage system. The project started in Aug. 2018 and the completion date is June 2020.
Gonzalez says Carson’s water management consists of three watersheds — Compton Creek in the north, Dominguez Channel in the middle and Machado Lake in the south.
The California State Water Resources Control Board considers the entire city and many surrounding communities—including the land around Compton Creek and Machado Lake — to be part of the Dominguez Watershed. The overall drainage area consists of about 110 square miles across southern Los Angeles County.
From a freshwater source near the Hawthorne Airport, the Dominguez Channel meanders almost 16 miles through Gardena, Torrance, Harbor Gateway, Carson, Wilmington, and finally empties into the East Basin of the Port of Los Angeles. As the water flows to the ocean, a tidewater — a stream that’s affected by ocean tides — results.
The entire Dominguez Watershed area is about 96-percent developed, largely residential, and artificially bounded by a system of storm drains and flood-control channels. Because of the surrounding population density, trash is a major issue, but water management has in the past mostly focused on stormwater diversion.
On an official level, Carson and Lawndale were incorporated into the Dominguez Channel Watershed Management Group in 2015. Other governing bodies within this group include the city and county of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County Flood Control District, and the cities of El Segundo, Hawthorne and Inglewood.
On an unofficial level, there’s a Friends/Amigos of the Dominguez Watershed blog online but the most recent entry is dated 2011. There’s also a Dominguez Channel Facebook page but it, too, has little activity.
In 2018, the State Water Resources Board began studying the possibility of cleaning up the Dominguez Channel, clearing it of trash and sediment, and possibly, at some point, incorporating bike paths and undertaking similar projects.
Gonzalez says the clean-up studies have just begun and it’s too early to discuss cost or a timeline.