Water pollution problems in the Los Angeles region can be severe. Not only is public health at risk but also the health of marine ecosystems because intense urban development and runoff from streets and surfaces transports untreated contaminants directly into the ocean. This severely impacts the health of the nearshore and coastal ecosystems. In addition, the Southern California region has one of the largest sewage effluent systems in the country, contributing more than 1 billion gallons of treated wastewater to the ocean daily (OCSD, 2014). USC Sea Grant funded research over the last two decades has examined both the contents and the fate of the urban runoff plumes in local coastal waters, and developed unique technology and partnerships to track these plumes along the coastline. Other research has focused on developing new and rapid methods to test for enteroviruses in coastal waters to facilitate the work of public health and safety authorities.
For more information, contact Juliette Finzi Hart, Marine & Climate Science Specialist, 424.241.2457