Trash issues in California, particularly in Los Angeles County, have reached alarming levels, with approximately 100 million gallons of contaminated water and debris flowing through the storm system on a daily basis. The situation becomes even more critical on rainy days, where the flow can escalate to billions of gallons per day, posing significant environmental threats. To put this into perspective, imagine the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. The sheer volume of contaminated water and debris during rainfall would require multiple Rose Bowl stadiums to contain the overflow. 

The impact of plastic waste in oceans is also staggering, with over 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic currently polluting the seas. This number continues to rise, as plastic materials often do not break down, harming the ocean ecosystem. A significant portion, 70%, sinks into the oceans, while 15% accumulates on beaches, visible in the form of litter and trash. 8.3 million tons of plastic are discarded into oceans annually, leading to approximately 236,000 pieces of plastic being ingested by marine life.

What Can Be Done?

Local storm drains, where debris from shopping centers, overflowing trash bins, and fast-food restaurants all contribute to the problem. The stormwater system, distinct from the sanitary sewer system, channels these pollutants into the nearest body of water, be it rivers or oceans, emphasizing the direct impact on local ecosystems.

In California, efforts to combat the trash issue have taken the form of the Trash Implementation Program. This program, pioneered by the state, tackles the problem head-on by implementing measures to mitigate the flow of pollutants into water bodies. As the trash implementation program evolves, its success becomes crucial in setting an example for other states grappling with similar challenges. Cities participating in the Trash Implementation Program face a critical deadline, aiming to achieve 100% full trash capture by the year 2030. 

Track Options

The program offers two distinct tracks for cities to choose from in their pursuit of full trash capture. In Track One, the focus is on the installation of trash capture systems in all significant trash-generating areas throughout the city. The state determines these areas, providing the necessary specifications or equations to guide cities in determining the required number of devices for each location. The ultimate goal remains achieving 100% full trash capture by 2030, with an emphasis on direct installations in identified key areas.

Track Two introduces a more flexible approach. While the core objective remains 100% full trash capture by 2030, cities under Track Two can integrate the installation of trash capture devices with other initiatives. These may include activities such as street sweeping, code enforcement, multi-benefit projects, public education, beach or creek cleanups, among others. Addressing the trash issue is accomplished through a combination of device installations and complementary measures.

Cities can choose the track that aligns with their specific needs and circumstances. It’s worth mentioning that community participation and awareness play a crucial role in the success of these programs. By understanding the chosen track and actively engaging with the community, cities can work towards a cleaner and more sustainable environment.

As the program progresses, feedback from cities on their chosen tracks and experiences can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness and challenges of each approach. Sharing this information within the community and across participating cities can contribute to refining and improving trash implementation programs for the collective benefit of all involved.

4 Questions to Ask About Full Trash-Capture Devices

When it comes to selecting a full-trash capture device, there are crucial questions that demand careful consideration. Firstly, the device must be approved by the California State Water Board, ensuring it meets the stringent qualifications set by regulatory authorities. A track record of successful implementation is essential, demonstrating the device’s efficacy in capturing trash.

Secondly, the materials used in the full-trash capture device play a pivotal role. Understanding the composition, whether it includes plastic or metal prone to corrosion, is vital. The materials should be resilient against water and environmental elements to ensure the device’s longevity and effectiveness. Assessing the durability of the device is crucial – does it have a proven track record of lasting a substantial period, or will it require frequent replacements? The longevity of the device is a critical factor in its overall effectiveness.

The third question revolves around warranty. While the industry standard for warranties on a full-trash capture device is typically one year, it is imperative to confirm the warranty duration and terms. Knowing the warranty details provides insight into the manufacturer’s confidence in their product’s durability and functionality.

Moving on to the fourth consideration, the ease of maintenance is paramount. Stormwater devices, including the full-trash capture device, require periodic cleaning and upkeep. The simplicity of maintenance tasks, such as vacuuming or replacing debris-filled bags, is crucial for the device’s efficiency over time.

SWIMS StormTek Device

The StormTek device has been approved by the California State Water Board since 2004, showcasing a long-standing commitment to meeting regulatory standards. Notably, modifications have been made over the years, incorporating feedback and addressing vector control considerations, enhancing the device’s effectiveness.

Addressing the durability of the full-trash capture device, it is robust. In a project we worked on in San Jose in 2007, StormTek devices installed then are still operating as designed, a testament to their longevity. The device’s circular design is a key advantage, as it minimizes stress compared to devices with bends in the metal. This design choice contributes to the device’s durability and longevity, especially when dealing with the forceful impact of water and debris.

In terms of warranty, a standard two-year warranty is provided, but if the full-trash capture device is paired with a maintenance contract through StormTek, an industry-leading eight-year warranty is offered. 

Moving on to maintenance, the full-trash capture device is designed with practicality in mind. Removing the device from the frame for cleaning is easy, contributing to its extended lifespan. The device’s maintenance requirements are also straightforward, making them more cost-effective in the long run.

Other Considerations and Specs of the Full-Trash Capture Device

Durability v Affordability

It is important to choose a full-trash capture device based on durability rather than solely focusing on initial costs. We advise against opting for the lowest bidder if it means frequent replacements; consider a more long-term device lifespan.

Vector Control

The inclusion of a hinged lid ensures that the StormTek full-trash capture device adheres to requirements that devices provide access for vector control treatments. Devices that do not offer such a feature may result in fines or require removal each time treatments are planned. 

Device Size

Each full-trash capture device is tailored to the specific catch basin it will be installed in. There are different shapes and sizes to accommodate various scenarios, ensuring that your device fits seamlessly into its designated space.

StormTek Pilot Programs

The county of Los Angeles selected SWIMS and the StormTek device based on its ability to capture both smaller and larger debris. We also have a range of high-profile installations across Northern California, Hawaii, and even beyond California’s borders.

We offer a pilot program to potential customers so you can test the device’s effectiveness in a specific setting. This program allows cities to install a desired number of devices for monitoring over a designated period, providing valuable insights for informed decision-making. 

We Can Help

SWIMS urges cities to actively participate in the Trash Implementation Program and make a lasting impact on their local ecosystems. With two tracks available, cities can choose a tailored approach that aligns with their specific needs and circumstances. Community participation and awareness are pivotal in the success of these programs. By understanding and engaging with the chosen track, cities can work towards a cleaner and more sustainable environment. As the program progresses, sharing experiences and insights within the community contributes to refining and improving trash implementation programs for the collective benefit of all involved.

Reach out to us for more information.