Batch of Infrastructure Projects on Tap for the Arroyo Seco

Published : Monday, September 10, 2018 | 4:36 PM

[Updated] Pasadena is gearing up to start a flurry of significant projects in the Arroyo Seco, ranging from a pipeline to a parking lot, primarily to upgrade Pasadena Water and Power’s water infrastructure.

The Municipal Services Committee will hear an informational presentation on the planned work at their meeting Tuesday.

It includes a new 12-inch pipeline between Devil’s Gate Dam and Johnson Field, a booster station, sediment removal and a new parking lot and restroom.

Arroyo Advisory Group co-chair and longtime former mayor Bill Bogaard said it’s about time.

“There has been a shortfall in maintenance and repair of the Arroyo in recent years. It’s still a legacy of the recession of 10 years ago,” he said. “There are many projects to be done and I’m delighted that they might be moving forward.”

Mayor Terry Tornek said the projects are necessary and routine. One is a new explorer well to help clean decades-old toxic chemical contamination from JPL out of the water supply.

“They’re putting in a new well, which is a big deal because it’ll hasten the cleanup that’s been going on for years that, that NASA has been paying for,” he said.

City officials estimate the well will help increase the removal of perchlorate and volatile organic compounds from the basin by 40 percent.

Local environmental activist and biologist Lori Paul said she’s worried about the impact of the projects on the wild residents in the Arroyo.

“We’ve built the urban edge literally to the very brink of the Arroyo Seco,” she said. “So the wild area that’s left is virtually a micro-habitat. It’s isolated.”

Paul also pointed to the major projects on the Municipal Services Committee agenda report and said she wondered it “the local public and those of us who visit and value Pasadena’s environment know about any of these projects.”

Mayor Tornek said the bulk of the work won’t have a significant impact on the landscape.

“The pipeline that goes up the side of the Arroyo, nobody will notice that,” he said. “It’s not going to have any big public impact [on] visibility.”

The big exception is the plan to remove sediment in order to reclaim an abandoned debris basin, he said. The area has since grown over with vegetation.

That project is actually a Los Angeles County, not Pasadena, undertaking.

“That’s a huge project. There’s no way around that,’ Tornek said. “They’re going to be cutting a bunch of trees down, they’re going to be scraping a bunch of dirt out and they’re going to be changing the whole appearance of the area behind the dam very dramatically. So everyone is going to notice that. These other projects are barely going to make a dent.”

He said the project areas are not untouched by shovels.

“There’s no portion of the area described in these various projects that’s undisturbed,” he said.

The City recognizes the Arroyo Seco is a valuable resource, Tornek said.

“We’ve all got a stake in it. It affects us in ways that we don’t even realize sometimes,” he said.

For the Committee’s full agenda, see here.

The Municipal Services Committee meets at 4 p.m. in City Council Chambers on the second floor at 100 North Garfield Avenue, Pasadena.








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