On March 19, 2019, the Board of Supervisors passed a motion directing Public Works to take steps to address trash in Ballona Creek as a high priority. Subsequently, The Ocean Cleanup, an international Dutch non-profit organization, approached Public Works with a unique partnership opportunity to deploy a trash collection device, known as the Interceptor™, for the first time in the United States.
The Ocean Cleanup's primary goal is to rid the world's oceans of plastics and debris. On October 26, 2019, The Ocean Cleanup announced its river initiative, with the goal of implementing a scalable solution for automated trash collection in 1,000 river systems within 5 years to stop the outflow of plastics to the world's oceans. After many conference calls that linked people around the world across varying time zones, and a site visit to Los Angeles, Ballona Creek was recommended as a good fit for implementation of a pilot project to test the efficacy of the Interceptor™ within rivers. With the support of Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn, a partnership agreement was signed between the Los Angeles County Flood Control District and The Ocean Cleanup on November 15, 2019, to implement a pilot project in Ballona Creek.
"The Interceptor™ is The Ocean Cleanup's answer for river plastic waste. It is the first scalable solution to prevent plastic from entering the world's oceans from rivers." 
In addition to providing the Interceptor™ for the pilot period, The Ocean Cleanup will be providing monitoring equipment to help better characterize the anticipated success of the system. Deployment and use of the Interceptor™ will help to achieve the goals set out by the Board of Supervisors, Public Works, and The Ocean Cleanup.
The anticipated benefits of this extraordinary public-private partnership between the Los Angeles County Flood Control District and The Ocean Cleanup include improving trash capture efficacy, automating operations, and reducing maintenance time and cost. The Ballona Creek Trash Interceptor™ Pilot Project will allow for a direct way to not only address the issue of trash within Ballona Creek, but also to implement a scalable solution worldwide with the lessons learned.
The Ocean Cleanup has already deployed Interceptors in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Dominican Republic. We look forward to deployment of the Interceptor™ in Ballona Creek in Fall 2021.
Water Quality• The Interceptor™ will help improve water quality in Santa Monica Bay by capturing plastic and other floating trash in Ballona Creek and preventing them from entering the ocean.
Operations• The Interceptor™ will facilitate efficient cleanup and enhance operations in Ballona Creek.
EducationThe pilot project will provide community awareness on:
• The trash issue in LA County waterways.
• Pollution prevention efforts at Ballona Creek and Santa Monica Bay.
The Ballona Creek Trash Interceptor™ Pilot Project will span over a two-year period from October 2021 through April 2023. Interceptor™ deployment is scheduled for Fall 2021 pending receipt of regulatory permits.
Additional Project Resources
- In June 2020, Public Works replaced the existing trash boom in Ballona Creek between Lincoln Boulevard and Culver Boulevard with an enhanced boom with finer mesh and deeper netting.
- In July 2020, Public Works installed an additional trash boom in Centinela Creek (approximately 100 feet downstream of the Centinela Avenue bridge) for greater trash capture potential. Centinela Creek flows into Ballona Creek.
- In September 2020, Public Works installed an additional trash boom in Ballona Creek at Purdue Avenue (approximately 400 feet upstream of the I-405 bridge) also for greater trash capture potential.
To receive updates on the Ballona Creek Trash Inceptor Pilot Project, email us at BallonaInterceptor@pw.lacounty.gov.