Herondo Drain outfall at beach

Project Summary

The Herondo Drain outfall is the largest storm drain in the South Bay (Herondo Street at the beach pictured above) and discharges regional stormwater and runoff into Santa Monica Bay. During rain events, the Herondo Drain typically receives an "F" grade on the Heal the Bay Report Card due to high bacteria levels, resulting in beach closures. The City is working with its Beach Cities Enhanced Watershed Management Program (EWMP) partners (Cities of Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach and Torrance) to find an acceptable infiltration project solution to ensure stormwater/runoff discharged through the Herondo Drain complies with State and local water quality requirements and improves the local Heal the Bay grade to an "A". Compliance with Santa Monica Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) requirements must occur by July 15, 2021 or the City may be subject to fines of up to $37,000 per day by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board. 

Public Meetings & Approvals

  • July 23, 2019 - Mayor Armato advised the Infiltration Subcommittee recently met with Redondo Beach Mayor Bill Brand and would be circling back on next steps on the Herondo Drain Infiltration Project. The City of Redondo Beach has demanded a return of $431,615.05 in infiltration project funding including $123,190.74 already spent.
  • May 28, 2019 - City Manager Suja Lowenthal advised the State Water Resources Control Board sent the City a letter of intent on May 21, 2019 to withdraw $3.1 million in Prop 1 grant funding due to uncertainty of project siting and project completion. The next opportunity for the City to re-apply for grant funding is in fall 2019. On May 16, 2019, City of Redondo Beach Mayor Bill Brand sent the City a letter indicating it would be premature to transfer lead agency status to the City of Redondo Beach without first conducting a study of the North Francisca Avenue site funded by the City of Hermosa Beach.
  • April 9, 2019 - Council approved funding of a North Francisca Avenue feasibility study contingent on EWMP partner cost sharing, MOU amendment and designation of Redondo Beach as lead agency.
  • March 26, 2019 - Council opted not to site an infiltration project in the Greenbelt, South Park or Herondo Street and directed staff to investigate alternatives with partner agencies including a March 26, 2019 offer by Redondo Beach Mayor Bill Brand to perform a feasibility study at a North Francisca Avenue site in Redondo Beach. Councilmember Massey replaced Councilmember Fangary on the Infiltration Subcommittee per Councilmember Fangary's request.
  • February 26, 2019 - Council received an update indicating the City had submitted required documentation to the State Water Resources Control Board re: Prop 1 infiltration project grant funding.  Staff to return to Council in March with project options and a legal and economic analysis of potential EWMP MOU dissolution.
  • February 12, 2019 - Information Item presented to Council noting Southern California Edison declined to site an infiltration project on their Redondo Beach plant site and an update on response to a Prop 1 grant Breach of Agreement notice received from the State Water Resources Control Board in December 2018.  Discussion of Beach Cities EWMP MOU dissolution and potential return of funding contributions.
  • January 8, 2019 - Council received an update on a Breach of Agreement notice received from the State Water Resources Control Board for the $3.1 million Prop 1 infiltration project grant and notice of a February 28, 2019 deadline to respond to State Water Board questions.
  • October 9, 2018 - The City Council received an update on the Greenbelt Infiltration Project and were presented with alternatives to the proposed project. Watch the meeting video or read the meeting details hereAction taken by the City Council at the meeting included:
    • Direction to the Redondo Development Subcommittee, consisting of Councilmember Fangary and Mayor Pro Tem Armato, and staff to jointly engage the City of Redondo and/or City of Torrance to discuss potential alternative site locations that include 1) relocating the infiltration project, at its current volume, outside of Hermosa Beach’s City boundaries or 2) dividing the infiltration project into multiple smaller projects totaling a similar stormwater capture volume, with an understanding that the division of projects may include one or more smaller scale projects in Hermosa Beach and/or the expansion of the Hermosa Beach Infiltration Trench Project currently in the Enhanced Watershed Management Plan.
    • Directing the Redondo Development Subcommittee and staff to return with a report to update City Council at a meeting in November. 
  • March 29, 2018 and May 10, 2018 - the City hosted two meetings in which the community was invited to learn about the conceptual designs for the project. These meetings were held on March 29, 2018 and May 10, 2018. Poster materials from the meeting can be found here.

Project Background

The Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board (LARWQCB) regulates discharges from municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) in Los Angeles County through permits issued under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Program. Effective December 28, 2012, the permit requires jurisdictions to develop stormwater control programs to minimize the discharge of pollutants from their MS4 system.

Beach Cities Enhanced Watershed Management Program (EWMP) - 2016The Cities of Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach and Torrance, together with the Los Angeles County Flood Control District (LACFCD), collectively referred to as the Beach Cities Watershed Management Group developed an Enhanced Watershed Management Program (EWMP) for the Santa Monica Bay watershed area to comply with the permit.

The Beach Cities EWMP identifies regional structural best management practices (BMPs) that when implemented together with local projects and policies achieve compliance with water quality regulations.

Greenbelt Infiltration Project (Proposed) 

The Hermosa Beach Greenbelt Infiltration Project, proposed to capture runoff at the southern border of Hermosa Beach, is the highest priority and most cost effective BMP proposed in the Beach Cities EWMP. The project would protect and improve Santa Monica Bay water quality by diverting and infiltrating storm water that contains bacteria as well as typical pollutants in urban runoff. The project cost would be split between Beach Cities EWMP agencies proportionally according to their share of runoff volume adjusted for any implemented infiltration projects:
  • Redondo Beach - 50.8%
  • Torrance - 33.1%
  • Hermosa Beach - 13.6%
  • Torrance - 2.5%

"Before" and "After" infiltration project renderings on the Greenbelt near 2nd Street are below (includes installation of drought tolerant landscaping and replacement / installation of new trees).  After planning and design, project construction would take approximately one year to complete.

Greenbelt Infiltration project rendering - before and after

Project Funding

The $7,336,180 project cost was to be funded in part by a $3,099,440 State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) Proposition 1 storm water grant. Matching funds for the remainder of the grant would have been contributed proportionally by Beach Cities Watershed Management Group agencies as noted above.

Hermosa Beach would fund this project under CIP Project #542. After deducting grant funding and Beach Cities Watershed Management Group contributions, Hermosa Beach's 13.6% share was projected to cost $576,197.  For FY 2019-20, this CIP was renamed to the Herondo Drain Stormwater/Urban Run-off Diversion Project.

Project Documents & Files

Proposition 1 Storm Water Grant Program Implementation

  • Grant Application Link
  • Letter of Award Link
  • Request for Proposals Link
  • Proposals Received:
  • Tetra Tech Contract for Design and Engineering Services Link

Coastal Conservancy Proposition 1 Funding 

  • Grant Application Link
  • Notification Letter Link

LA County Municipal Storm Water Permit and Enhanced Watershed Management Program Documents 

*Additional information is available on the LARWQCB Beach Cities Watershed Management Group Program Page.

  • Waste Discharge Requirements for Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System Discharges within the Coastal watersheds of Los Angeles County Link
  • Beach Cities Enhanced Watershed Management Program (Revised March 2018) Link
  • LARWQCB Approval Letter for the Beach Cities EWMP Link
  • Enhanced Watershed Management Program Environmental Impact Report Link

Hermosa Beach Annual NPDES Reports