Stormwater and Urban Runoff

The Public Works Department's - Environmental Programs and Operations Division manages the urban runoff and stormwater permit (MS4) for the City of Culver City. 

The City is required to comply with the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit issued by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board (LA RWQCB). The MS4 permit requires the City to implement Best Management Practices (BMPs) that would improve water quality in the Ballona Creek Watershed. The City joined the Ballona Creek Watershed Management Group (BC WMG) along with the cities of Beverly Hills, Inglewood, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, West Hollywood, and unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County.

To meet water quality requirements, the BC WMG drafted the Ballona Creek Enhanced Watershed Management Program (BC-EWMP) which addresses water quality issues by implementing institutional and infrastructure BMPs such as green streets and regional projects. Green streets and regional projects are designed to capture and treat runoff from all drainage areas in the Ballona Creek Watershed. To be in compliance, all agencies, including the City of Culver City, are required to manage runoff volume by implementing green streets or centralized regional projects.

The City will need to manage an equivalent volume of 99 acre-feet of runoff per storm event to meet water quality goals per BC-EWMP. The following is the recommended breakdown to achieve compliance:

  • 62 ac-ft. from Regional Projects
  • 20 ac-ft. from Green Streets
  • 17 ac-ft. from Low Impact Development Projects

Based on planning estimates from the BC- EWMP, the City will need to invest approximately $140 million in implementation of capital stormwater projects to meet water quality compliance. Understanding the magnitude of compliance, on November 8, 2016, Culver City residents approved Measure CW, the Clean Water, Clean Beach Parcel Tax.  The Measure established a dedicated fund source to improve water quality in Ballona Creek, Marina del Rey, Santa Monica Bay, and the Pacific Ocean.

MS4 Permit

The latest MS4 Permit was adopted by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board on November 8, 2012, and became effective December 28, 2012. In addition to the LACFCD and County, the Permit is also issued to 84 municipalities within the County (the cities of Palmdale, Lancaster, Avalon, and Long Beach are excluded). Each Permittee is responsible for implementing its own stormwater program. 

The new MS4 Permit presents major challenges including extensive monitoring requirements and the incorporation of 33 Total Maximum Daily Load regulations (learn more about TMDLs).

The new MS4 Permit also represents a shift in the way stormwater is regulated in the region. For the first time, a stormwater permit provides Permittees with incentives for integrated water planning. By combining water supply and water quality planning, Permittees can attract funding partners to build projects with multiple benefits.  This new approach and look forward to working with stakeholders and partners to find, plan, and build exciting projects in the coming years.

Enhanced Watershed Management Programs and Coordinated Integrated Monitoring Plans

Ballona Creek

Enhanced Watershed Management Program for the Ballona Creek Watershed(PDF, 22MB)

Coordinated Integrated Monitoring Program (CIMP) for the Ballona Creek Watershed(PDF, 17MB)

Marina Del Rey

Marina del Rey Enhanced Watershed Management Program Plan(PDF, 22MB)

Marina del Rey Coordinated Integrated Monitoring Program(PDF, 18MB)

Current Projects

View the GIS MAP Story Book for current project locations, project timeline and their respective estimated cost.  


Construction in progress

The Culver Boulevard Realignment Project is the continuation of the widening of Culver Boulevard that was completed by Caltrans as part of the 405 Freeway widening in 2009.  This project will resolve traffic issues along this stretch of Culver Boulevard; and provide for a safer and more aesthetically pleasing street.  The eastbound and westbound lanes of traffic is proposed to be separated with a new raised median.

Culver Boulevard Project Image

Stormwater Quality Master Plan (in development) 

The objective of the Master Plan is to develop a short-term (5 year) and long-term (10 year) planning tool that will identify potential Regional Projects, Green Streets Projects, and Low Impact Development Projects to collectively meet the City’s water quality compliance goals.  The Master Plan shall incorporate factors in the BMP selection such as, but not limited to, City’s planned projects, Los Angeles Region Imagery Acquisition Consortium (LARIAC) to generate planimetric data, land use, hydrology, historical high groundwater levels, storm drain and sanitary sewer systems, in considering opportunities of potential projects.  The Master Plan shall include for each project: cost estimates, summary pollutant reduction per project and BMP alternatives. 

Mesmer (In progress. Working on applicable permit requirements) 

The City is proposing a dry weather diversion project that will capture low flow run-off from the Centinela Creek Channel (channel) by way of at grade trench drain into the City’s Mesmer Sewer Pump Station. 


Projects Completed

Projects Completed 

 Transfer Station Stormwater Project Image

 Transfer Station Stormwater Rain Garden Image

See the transformation of Culver City's Transfer Station both above and below ground in our Transfer Station Stormwater Project video: 

 The 5 Rain Garden Locations:

  • Ballona Creek Rain Garden – north side of Ballona Creek between Overland Avenue and Pedestrian Bridge;
  • Lindblade Street Rain Garden – south side of Lindblade Street, east of Sepulveda Boulevard;
  • Baldwin Avenue Rain Garden – west and eastside of Baldwin Avenue, north of Farragut Drive;
  • Public Works Maintenance Yard Rain Garden – 9505 Jefferson Boulevard; and
  • Transfer Station Rain Garden – 9255 Jefferson Boulevard (Does not include vegetation East of Transfer Station)

Baldwin Avenue Rain Garden

 Baldwin Hills Rain Garden