Pacoima Reservoir project met with concerns for public safety

Posted on 10/04/2023

Pacoima Reservoir project met with concerns for public safety

(Public Comment link at end of article)

Listen to the recording here.

A proposed project to remove built-up sediment from the Pacoima Reservoir is being met with concern from Sylmar residents.

According to the Los Angeles County Flood Control District's proposal, the Pacoima Reservoir Restoration Project (PRRP) is crucial because:

- "The dam's structural stability may be compromised due to the height of the sediment against the dam, as sediment weighs more than water and increases the forces against the dam."

- "The function of the outlet works may be hindered by accumulated sediment that can cause blockage and/or damage to outlet works. If a dam's outlet works are blocked or damaged, the outlet works will be unable to properly regulate storm flows or make other controlled releases from the reservoir."

The way Ann Job of Sylmar sees it, the issue could have been avoided. She told KNX News reporter Margaret Carrero, "It's critical now, and we've got to deal with it in a crisis situation, which we wouldn't have had to do if, when they built the dam, they had done routine maintenance."

Other residents like Farrah Yassi, whose husband hang-glides in the area, are concerned about the public safety issues.

The possibility of having sediment relocated in front of the mountain and a conveyor belt being used to move it, "Would be very hazardous for the public, not just the hang gliders that live here, but when you have wind, the sediment is going to be in the air for everybody to breathe it in," Yassi said.

Director of L.A. County Public Works Mark Pestrella assures the public his office will weigh all their options before authorizing any solution and promises complete transparency throughout the process.

"As we prepare the project, we'll be doing sampling of the sediment.
We will be making that public information," said Pestrella.

When it comes to the timing of sediment and debris removals, Pestrella said, "You have to take it in the context of an overall sediment management plan for the county's flood control system. There's a lot of sediment throughout our system, and at differing times, we're having to prioritize where to go first. So each reservoir has to get to a place where we can consider it prime for cleanout."

L.A. DPW is welcoming any ideas from residents and will be accepting written comments through 5 PM on Oct. 16th.

There's also a community meeting to hear an overview of the proposed project set for the evening of Thursday, October 12th, 2023, from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM at the El Cariso Community Regional Park Gymnasium and Community Center - 13100 Hubbard St., Sylmar, CA 91342.

Written comments can be submitted by mail to:

Los Angeles County Public Works, Stormwater Engineering Division
P.O. Box 1460, Alhambra, California 91802-1460
Attn: Sediment Management Section

Or via email at [email protected].

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