Garvanza Park does its part to clean up Northeast L.A. storm water

Underground cistern under construction at Garvanza Park. Photo: City of L.A.

Garvanza Park field after construction. Photo: City of L.A.

City officials and community leaders will gather at Garvanza Park on Thursday to celebrate the completion of a months-long, $3.1-million  improvement project that left a large section of the park closed last year. However, from the ground up, Garvanza Park does not look all that much different with the exception of some new fitness equipment and additional trees. The big change has taken place underground where a pair of underground cisterns have been constructed to collect and clean storm water and street run-off before it heads into the nearby Arroyo Seco. The Garvanza Park Rainwater Capture Facility is the first such system of its kind to be installed in Northeast L.A. and the first to treat storm water flowing into the Arroyo Seco, said Michelle Vargas, a spokeswoman for the city’s Department of Public Works.

The cisterns can hold about 1 million gallons of water – the equivalent of two Olympic-size pools – will serve two purposes: clean up the water that enters the Arroyo Seco and store water that will be used to help  irrigate the park above through an underground, drip-irrigation system, Vargas said. “That will keep the area green,” she said.

Even when it’s not raining, the system will collect water that flows into storm drains when residents wash cars and water lawns, she said. One part of the system acts like a giant strainer, collecting large pieces of trash and debris that will need to be cleaned out by city crews.

The Bureau of Sanitation’s “objective in implementing these projects is to keep urban runoff from flowing into our waterways like the Arroyo Seco and the LA River,” said Vargas. “Instead, we want to take the urban runoff, remove the oils, trash and bacteria, and reuse it in many ways like drip irrigation and groundwater recharge at Garvanza Park.  That way, we keep our waterways clean, save potable water, and enhance our communities.”

The project, which was funded primarily through federal and state grants, is still being tested but is expected to be in operation by the time of Thursday’s ceremony, Vargas said.  The ceremony is scheduled for Thursday, March 15 at 9 a.m.

Related Link:

  • Finishing touches at Garvanza Park. Patch


  1. I’m soooo glad the work on the park is finally completed!!

  2. It’s a celebration time and a pride moment for the city’s Department of Public Works.

  3. Very smart use of engineering to reclaim the storm water runoff. Not only does this help the environment, but the park will stay looking that much better over time.

  4. Is there a designated dog area?

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