Ballona Creek has a long infamous history when it comes to water quality. The Regional Water Control Board instituted a limit on trash in 2007. Known as a TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load), it required cities that discharge into Ballona Creek to reduce the amount of trash to the water body.
But trash isn’t the only pollutant affecting Ballona Creek. The water is often covered in oil and grease. The cause was thought to be related to industrial and commercial activities within the watershed. The City of Los Angeles has issued reports on oil spills affecting the creek in the past.
But a new culprit has been identified – La Brea Tar Pits. According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, the tar pits overflow during heavy rains, overflowing existing treatment devices. The discharge then enters the storm drain system which is connected to Ballona Creek, which then drains into the Pacific Ocean.
The article states that Los Angeles County plans to spend $2M to treat the runoff before it enters the storm drain system.