LA County beaches close after an 8-hour sewage spill

July 14, 2021 by  
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On Monday night, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health issued an  order to close  several beaches along Santa Monica Bay following a raw sewage spillover on Sunday. An estimated 17 million gallons of untreated sewage were discharged into the water after the Hyperion Water Reclamation sewage treatment plant experienced a power outage. Treatment plant officials said they had to release 6% of the plant’s daily load to avoid an even bigger problem. The spill lasted for over eight hours and led to the closure of all public beaches within the affected area, including El Segundo Beach and Dockweiler State Beach. According to the closure notice, all the beaches will be closed for at least one week and will only reopen after water tests show no elevated level of bacteria. Related: Atlantic has 10 times the microplastics previously thought Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn has condemned the occurrence and says that she is still looking for answers from the officials at the sewer plant. She has questioned the amount of raw sewage discharged and the time taken for the plant to notify the public. “What happened yesterday was unacceptable and dangerous. Not only did the Hyperion Plant release seventeen million gallons of sewage into our ocean — the public had little to no information about it for hours,” Hahn said in an interview. “We need answers from LA City Sanitation about what went wrong and led to this massive spill, but we also need to recognize that LA County Public Health did not effectively communicate with the public and could have put swimmers in danger.” Spills in L.A. County have almost become a norm, with several minor spills occurring already this year. According to Heal the Bay , a total of 75 sewage spills have happened in Los Angeles County between 2020 and 2021. These minor spills account for 346,888 gallons of sewage waste.  The county’s last major spill occurred in 2015 when about 30 million gallons of waste were released into Santa Monica Bay by Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant. Although the plant had to pay a settlement of $2.26 million, this clearly hasn’t stopped recurring sewer spills.  Via CBS News Lead image via Pixabay

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LA County beaches close after an 8-hour sewage spill

Elon Musk says first segment of LA tunnel complete

June 30, 2017 by  
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If you ever want to take on a crazy project and see results in under a year, call Elon Musk . He’s already making progress on his stuck-in-traffic daydream of tunnels beneath Los Angeles . This week he tweeted The Boring Company’s tunnel boring machine, cheekily named Godot, completed the first tunnel portion. According to Musk, we’re “no longer waiting for Godot.” Musk seems to be having a lot of fun with his side project he somehow fits into his free time. And he’s making strides towards the dream of clearing out Los Angeles’ notorious congestion by moving vehicles underground. The Boring Company’s new machine has started operating and already finished the first segment of a tunnel. Related: Elon Musk says LA mayor is open to The Boring Company’s traffic tunnels No longer waiting for Godot. It has begun boring and just completed the first segment of tunnel in LA. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 28, 2017 Godot is around 400 feet long, with a diameter of 26 feet, and weighs 1,200 tons. Musk hinted on Twitter they still hope the machine will bore faster in the future. He said they have a long way to go before they beat Gary, a snail from SpongeBob SquarePants whom Musk referenced in April in a TED talk , saying “Victory is beating the snail.” The project started near the SpaceX parking lot in Hawthorne. And according to Electrek, it appears this first segment simply connects the parking lot to the company’s buildings. But Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti has indicated his interest in Musk’s venture – he name-dropped the tech entrepreneur in an ABC7 interview and Musk said they’d had promising conversations. Electrek also quoted Musk as saying the full length of the first tunnel “will run from LAX to Culver City, Santa Monica, Westwood, and Sherman Oaks. Future tunnels will cover all of greater LA.” It seems this pipe dream might become reality after all. + The Boring Company Via The Verge and Electrek Images via The Boring Company

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Elon Musk says first segment of LA tunnel complete

Green-roofed desalination plant is world’s first to treat both fresh and saltwater

June 30, 2017 by  
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Desalination is an important component of Singapore’s water supply, and the island country has a new desalination plant in the works decked out with green features. The large-scale facility can treat both freshwater and saltwater, and according to Today Online and other local news outlets , it’s thought to be the first one of its kind in the world. The Keppel Marina East Desalination Plant will be the first of its kind in Singapore, and some publications say in the world. It will be the country’s fourth desalination plant, but the first large-scale dual-mode one. It will treat water from the sea or the Marina Reservoir, depending on whether the weather is dry or wet. Keppel Infrastructure is constructing the plant under a 25-year Water Purchase Agreement with Singapore’s national water agency, PUB . Related: Self-sustaining island eco-lodge in Florida has its own desalination system And this plant doesn’t look like your typical industrial facility. It will be topped with a 215,278 square foot green roof and equipped to harvest rainwater for irrigating plants . According to Keppel Infrastructure CEO Ong Tiong Guan, “…the plant’s design also blends seamlessly into the environment , allowing the public to enjoy the green space above the plant along with the surrounding greenery.” Treatment facilities will be underground in the plant PUB described as sleek and modern. According to PUB Chief Executive Ng Joo Hee, desalination plants boost Singapore’s water security. He said in a statement, “As a source independent of weather , desalinated water is capable of strengthening our water supply resilience, especially against prolonged dry spells and droughts . We aim to triple its capacity to meet up to 30 percent of our water needs by 2060.” The Keppel Marina East Desalination Plant is slated to be finished in 2020. The plant will produce around 30 million gallons of drinking water every single day. Via PUB Images via PUB

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Green-roofed desalination plant is world’s first to treat both fresh and saltwater

Land Art Generator Initiative Santa Monica winners address California’s energy needs and drought

October 5, 2016 by  
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John Eric Chung, Pablo La Roche, Danxi Zou, Jingyan Zhang, and Tianyi Deng (CallisonRTKL), a submission to the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica Teams from all around the world competed in the competition, and the first place winners are based in Tokyo, Japan. Christopher Sjoberg and Ryo Saito designed the Regatta H2O, ethereal sailboat-like installations that capture energy through “aerostatic flutter wind harvesting” and capture water through fog harvesting. Operating via the energy it collects, the regatta would generate 112 million liters, or nearly 30 million gallons, of drinking water yearly. Related: Solar-powered Pipe desalinizes 1.5 billion gallons of drinking water for California Keegan Oneal, Sean Link, Caitlin Vanhauer, and Colin Poranski, a submission to the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica The second place winner is Cetacea, created by a team from Eugene, Oregon. Keegan Oneal, Sean Link, Caitlin Vanhauer, and Colin Poranski from the University of Oregon designed the installation inspired by blue whales’ ability to power themselves by tiny krill. Cetacea draws on three types of energy – wind, solar, and wave – and collects 650 million liters of drinking water yearly via “high efficiency reverse osmosis” ( HERO by Aquatech ). 80 percent of the 4,300 megawatt hours of energy generated by Cetacea would be used to “offset the energy demand” of the HERO system and Santa Monica’s SMURRF facility . Christopher Makrinos, Stephen Makrinos, and Alexander Bishop, a submission to the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica Third place goes to Christopher Makrinos, Stephen Makrinos, and Alexander Bishop of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They designed Paper Boats, boat-shaped installations whose sails function as “concentrated photovoltaic collectors.” Paper Boats would utilize Holographic Planar Concentrator technology from Prism Solar Technologies to generate 2,400 megawatt hours of power each year. Matt Kuser, a submission to the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica LAGI founding directors Elizabeth Monoian and Robert Ferry said in a statement, “The winners of LAGI 2016 all responded to the design brief with elegant site-specific gestures for the cherished coastal landscape of the Santa Monica Bay. These innovative and artistic solutions that employ the latest wave, tidal, wind, solar, and water-harvesting technologies have resonance for coastal cities around the world.” Aitor Almaraz and Sonia Vázquez-Díaz, a submission to the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica There are 21 other finalists, from a desalinizing pipe to a solar-powered rotating farm and desalination plant to a freshwater-creating orb comprised of transparent solar concentrators . + Land Art Generator Initiative Images courtesy of the Land Art Generator Initiative

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Land Art Generator Initiative Santa Monica winners address California’s energy needs and drought

Gensler proposes temporary floating structure for UK Parliament

October 5, 2016 by  
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The upcoming refurbishment of the Palace of Westminster means the UK Parliament needs to move – but with minimal disruptions. Gensler has proposed they don’t have to move very far. Instead, the architecture firm has come up with a plan that would allow parliament to conduct business on a floating structure on the River Thames . The modular construction, named Project Poseidon would be both cost effective for taxpayers and visually stunning for passersby. It is estimated the refurbishment may take up to six years to complete, leaving Parliament in a bind and possibly having to work in multiple, separate locations. Gensler ’s solution makes sure government business remains under one roof and enjoys the natural security of the surrounding river. The 8,600 square meter structure would be made out of steel platforms and a wooden frame with a design inspired by the hammer-beam roof of Westminster Hall . Related: Gensler proposes floating Thames Airport to ease airport congestion in London Construction of floating Project Poseidon could take as little as three years, taking place at a handful of shipyards around the UK. The pieces could be shipped across the Thames to be assembled in their final place, only 10 meters away from the Palace of Westminster. Duncan Swinhoe, Regional Managing Principal at Gensler, excitedly boasts the future applications of the floating structure: “Once the refurbishment of the Palace is complete, the modular structure could be relocated and adapted to provide a permanent legacy such as a Museum for Democracy or alternatively a new parliament for an emerging overseas democracy.” + Gensler Via  World Architecture News Images via Gensler

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Gensler proposes temporary floating structure for UK Parliament

Fisker promises a 2017 comeback with a 400-mile range electric sports car

October 5, 2016 by  
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A few months after the announcement that Fisker Automotive will reboot the Karma Revero , the company’s namesake Henrik Fisker says he is starting a new car company, called Fisker Inc., to produce an electric sports car that can travel over 400 miles between charges, a huge jump over existing EV ranges. Although the company hasn’t volunteered a solid launch date for such a vehicle, or any other details to speak of, Bloomberg reports that we’ll all learn more sometime in mid-2017. The Danish automotive designer told Bloomberg that his next EV offering will “look completely different” and will be “sporty and spacious.” While there’s no word on the initial cost of a technologically advanced EV with a 400-mile range, Fisker suggested there will be a mass market version priced around $40,000. That’s a pricepoint low enough to compete with the Tesla Model 3 , which debuted at $35,000 (but ‘only’ has a 215-mile range). Related: The Fisker Karma – a candidate for resurrection or DOA? Fisker has a long history in the automotive industry, having designed iconic cars for BMW, Aston Martin, and VLF Automotive. The CEO announced his new company in a Twitter update on Monday, October 3, saying, “The Original Fisker is back. I am very proud to be launching Fisker Inc. With a game changing battery technology.” Much like Tesla, Fisker will be producing its own electric car batteries as Fisker Nanotech. Reportedly, the company is working on graphene-based battery technology, which is a longer lasting alternative to lithium ion that has also been shown to charge much faster. “For the last two years, I have been looking at battery technologies and wanted to see if there was something that could really give us a new paradigm,” Fisker told Bloomberg. “We had the strategy of developing the technology as fast as possible without getting tied down to a large organization, which would hold us back. Now we have the technology that nobody else has. And there is nobody even close to what we are doing out there.” Via Engadget Images via Fisker Inc and Twitter via screenshot

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Fisker promises a 2017 comeback with a 400-mile range electric sports car

Giant gleaming Orb deploys solar and wave energy to make clean water for California

August 26, 2016 by  
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“Now, more than ever, energy and water are intertwined. As California faces severe water shortages in the coming years, the amount of energy required for water production and transmission is sure to increase,” LAGI writes on their website about this year’s competition for Santa Monica Pier. “For this reason we expanded our definition of sustainable infrastructure artwork to include proposals in 2016 that produce drinking water—either in addition to, or in place of—clean electricity.” Related: Solar-powered Pipe desalinizes 1.5 billion gallons of drinking water for California The Clear Orb is designed to be accessible from the Santa Monica Pier via the beach boardwalk. The pathway to the gleaming sphere gently tips toward the water’s surface, the outer walls harvesting wave energy from the existing breakwater. The inner walls depict a list of animals that have gone extinct, inviting visitors to reflect on humanity’s impact on its fellow inhabitants. About 130 feet in diameter, the glass orb’s surface is comprised of transparent solar concentrators that supply the energy required to circulate water into the Orb. Inside, a solar still converts seawater into fresh water through evaporation and condensation. The resulting clean water pours through a step fountain that supports the structure. The designers say this becomes “an artful interpretation of the power of light and water to give life.” Energy produced by the oscillating water column along the “contemplation walk” would supply further power to the solar distillation pumps and the grid, though, compared to some of the other designs we’ve seen this year, such as The Pipe , the design’s energy and water production goals are relatively small. For example, The Pipe would be able to produce 1.5 billion gallons of water for Santa Monica, while The Clear Orb would only have capacity to generate 3,820 MWh solar energy to distill 500,000 gallons of water. Still, if a primary goal of the design competition is to educate the community and visitors about sustainability, The Clear Orb definitely has potential to bring the conversation mainstream. A frequently-visited site, the Santa Monica Pier would be forever transformed with such a vibrant work of art – demonstrating that energy and clean water production can complement the city, both here and abroad. + LAGI 2016: Santa Monica + Heerim Architects and Planners

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Giant gleaming Orb deploys solar and wave energy to make clean water for California

Solar-powered Ring Garden marries desalination and agriculture for drought-stricken California

August 25, 2016 by  
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With roughly 80 percent of California’s already-scarce water supply going to agriculture, it’s crucial for the state to embrace new technologies that shrink the amount of water required to grow food. Alexandru Predonu has designed an elegant solution that uses solar energy to power a rotating desalination plant and farm that not only produces clean drinking water for the city of Santa Monica, but also food crops – including algae. A finalist of this year’s Land Art Generator Initiative competition , a site-specific biennial design competition that has inspired world-renowned designs like The Pipe and Energy Duck , Ring Garden is capable of churning out 16 million gallons of clean water, 40,000 pounds of aeroponic crops, and 11,000 pounds of spirulina biomass for livestock feed. A desalination plant , rotating aeroponics farm, and algae bioreactor in one, Ring Garden is designed to “harvest seawater, CO2, and the sun’s energy to create food, biomass, and fresh water,” according to Predonu’s design brief. The plant is powered by photovoltaic panels that produce 440 MWh each year. 100 percent of that energy is used to power the desalination process and rotate the garden. “Seawater enters the desalination plant through special screens that protect fish and local wildlife,” he said. “Solar panels power a high-pressure pump to pressurize seawater above the osmotic pressure and through a semi permeable membrane.” Clean water resulting from this process is then divvied up – 60 percent irrigates the rotating plants, 30 percent is sent to the city grid, while the remaining brine water, which would be potentially toxic to marine life, is fed through the bioreactor to cultivate spirulina for biomass . Related: Solar-powered Pipe desalinizes 1.5 billion gallons of drinking water for California “The aeroponics system uses 98% less water than conventional farming and yields on average 30% more crops without the need for pesticides or fertilizers,” says Predonu. “Ring Garden demonstrates that the main elements a plant needs in order to grow—water, sun, nutrients, and CO2— are on site and don’t need to be transported. On a footprint of about 1,000 m2 (10,764 square feet) the farm can produce vegetables that would otherwise take 26,000 m2 (279,862 square feet) of land and 340 million gallons of fresh water per year.” If built, Ring Garden would consume just nine million gallons of water annually, according to Predonu, and redirect 331 million gallons that would otherwise evaporate to 2,300 California households. Every good LAGI design is expected to have a compelling public art and educational component, and Ring Garden delivers. Not only is the design slightly tilted so that the sun will shine right through the middle of the wheel on Earth Day (April 22), but visitors are welcome to visit the facility by boat, and pick vegetables and plant new ones at an outdoor aeroponics garden. There would also be a Eco Awareness Center designed to inform the public about the benefits and necessity of sustainable innovations that promise a more hopeful future. The winners of LAGI 2016: Santa Monica will be announced at Greenbuild in October . + LAGI 2016: Santa Monica + Alexandru Predonu

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Solar-powered Ring Garden marries desalination and agriculture for drought-stricken California

Solar-powered Pipe desalinizes 1.5 billion gallons of drinking water for California

August 23, 2016 by  
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“LAGI 2016 comes to Southern California at an important time,” write Rob Ferry and Elizabeth Monoian, co-founders of the Land Art Generator Initiative . “The sustainable infrastructure that is required to meet California’s development goals and growing population will have a profound influence on the landscape. The Paris Climate Accord from COP 21 has united the world around a goal of 1.5–2° C, which will require a massive investment in clean energy infrastructure. For this particular competition, LAGI asked designers to submit proposals that incorporate either an energy or drinking water component, since they are inextricably intertwined, or both. Khalil Engineers from Canada chose to power an electromagnetic desalination device using solar power . And – in keeping with the public art and educational aspect of LAGI’s overall environmental and social crusade – The Pipe is a beautiful design that allows people to seamlessly interact with their source of drinking water without any of the unpleasant side effects typically associated with energy generation. Related: Gigantic solar hourglass powers up to 1,000 Danish homes “Above, solar panels provide power to pump seawater through an electromagnetic filtration process below the pool deck, quietly providing the salt bath with its healing water and the city with clean drinking water,” the design team writes in their brief. “The Pipe represents a change in the future of water.” According to Khalil Engineers, their design, a long gleaming thing visible from Santa Monica Pier, is capable of generating 10,000 MWh each year, which will in turn produce 4.5 billion liters (or 1.5 billion gallons) of drinking water. Given the current drought throughout California , and the dearth of water in general, a variety of urban micro generators such as this can complement utility-scale energy generation. “What results are two products: pure drinkable water that is directed into the city’s primary water piping grid, and clear water with twelve percent salinity. The drinking water is piped to shore, while the salt water supplies the thermal baths before it is redirected back to the ocean through a smart release system, mitigating most of the usual problems associated with returning brine water to the sea.” The winners of LAGI 2016 will be announced on October 6, 2016 at Greenbuild 2016 . + LAGI 2016: Santa Monica + Khalil Engineers

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Solar-powered Pipe desalinizes 1.5 billion gallons of drinking water for California

Los Angeles west side celebrates first new rail line in 60 years

May 20, 2016 by  
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Traffic, smog, and congestion have choked the west side of Los Angeles for over 60 years . Now, the city notorious for its jammed freeways has finally taken a step towards clearer roads and cleaner skies with a light rail Metro extension. The Metro Expo Line which opened today connects the highly-trafficked areas of downtown LA to Santa Monica. The Metro Expo Line extension will be celebrated with free rides for passengers through Sunday, as well as a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Each stop will include entertainment ranging from food trucks to live bands and bounce houses. The new line will include seven new stops and encompass 6.6 miles of rail. Travelers will be able to commute from downtown to Santa Monica in 46 minutes, and will have easier access to sites such as The Natural History Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the beach, of course. Related: LA lawmakers take steps to create ‘wildlife corridor’ to protect big cats Locals took to Twitter to express their excitement about the potential of avoiding traffic. It’s a big step for a city that has lacked accessible public transportation, particularly in areas like the Westside. The Los Angeles Times reports that the city of Santa Monica will be making a major push to encourage residents to use public transportation through a marketing campaign called GoSaMo , highlighting all the available car alternatives, from the new light rail to rental bikes, buses, and Zipcar. Mayor Tony Vazquez said , “To really address mobility, it had to be about so much more than Expo. We want to make Santa Monica the leading example of pedestrian- and transit-oriented lifestyles in Southern California .” The GoSaMo campaign will reach locals via social media, ads, and special TAP cards designed by artists from Santa Monica. Via The Los Angeles Times Images via Metro Los Angeles Facebook and City of Santa Monica Government Facebook

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Los Angeles west side celebrates first new rail line in 60 years

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