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After beginning construction on the Burton Way median project in Beverly Hills in February 2022, crews are expected to complete the project in June, capping an effort to revitalize the median with new features that capture stormwater and divert polluted water from reaching the ocean, project manager Tristan Malabanan said.
When completed, the project will feature a 1.1-million gallon underground water storage tank with technology that will filter oil and contaminants out of water that is collected for irrigation or is allowed to flow into Ballona Creek, eventually reaching the ocean, Malabanan said.
“Other than [being] a huge benefit for the city, it’s great for Southern California,” Malabanan added. “It will take a lot of pollutants out of Ballona Creek, and ultimately from the ocean.”
Discussions on the project date to 2015, when the city adopted a Green Streets Policy to comply with the federal Clean Water Act. Construction was originally expected to begin in September 2021 and finish in August 2022, but design and logistics issues pushed the schedule back, Malabanan said. He became project manager in August 2022.
Construction crews faced additional difficulties this year, when storms stalled progress for a month and a half, Malabanan said. With clear weather returning, crews are making strides on remaining concrete work, such as building access ramps for people with disabilities. Malabanan expects progress to continue unless the city is hit with another big storm.
As of April 11, sections of the median from Doheny Drive to Rexford Drive were still under construction.
While the project might have helped the city conserve rain water that fell this year, if it were finished on schedule, Malabanan believes the larger benefit is keeping dirty water out of the ocean, he said. Water that falls during a heavy downpour is much cleaner than “nuisance” water from irrigation and other civic uses, which is dirtiest on dry days, Malabanan said.
“My preference would be to collect water on dry days, that way you’d make the most environmental impact,” Malabanan said. “Everybody’s in a rush to save that rain water, but for this type of project you’d really want to get that dirty water out of the ocean.”
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