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Answering Your Questions on Catch Basin Screen Covers

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A catch basin screen cover catches an empty pack of cigarettes and a coffee cup lid

A catch basin screen cover catches an empty pack of cigarettes and a coffee cup lid
An earlier post this week on catch basin screen covers generated a lot of interest and some questions from readers in the comment section. The City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation was watching, too. Michelle Vargas is a public information officer with the Department of Public Works and wanted to follow up with some information. We've parsed out her response below:

  • In response to the question about who maintains these, the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation is responsible for cleaning the catch basins and the catch basin screens all over the City.
  • We share the residents' concerns over street flooding due to clogged screens or catch basins. To prevent that, crews clean catch basins 2-3 times a year (on a regular schedule) using what we call Vactor Trucks (see a photo below) that are basically big vacuum cleaners that collect trash from these entry points to the storm drain system. These cleaning efforts are supplemented by the street sweepers that pick up curb trash before they end up by the catch basins. However, if residents see any blocked catch basin screens, they should call 3-1-1 to report it.
  • Litter is not only a nuisance but also a threat to our environment. We appreciate that there is a growing awareness of how litter, as far inland as say the Valley or East Los Angeles, ends up in the ocean via our storm drain system. The City is doing its best to mitigate trash from draining to the ocean, but we need the residents' support through personal responsibility. The message is simple: do not litter.
  • Just to illustrate the amount of trash we capture at Ballona Creek at the end of a rain event, I attached another photo (we've put that photo below).


Left: Trash in the Ballona Creek | Right: Vactor Truck (Photos Courtesy of the City of LA)
For more information on what we can all do to fight stormwater pollution, visit