The Environmental Services Division is responsible for implementing the City of Commerce’s Source Reduction and Recycling Element and Household Hazardous Waste Element required by the State of California Integrated Waste Management Act of 1989 - Assembly Bill 939. This law requires the City to reduce its refuse disposal amount by 50% by the year 2000 and to report the City’s recycling and reduction efforts to the State of California Integrated Waste Management Board in its Annual Report.
The City began its Residential Curbside Recycling Program
in 1993 to meet the requirements of the new recycling law. This program provides the most effective method to recover recyclables from the waste stream such as aluminum, plastic, glass, paper and greenwaste.
- Redevelopment - The City expanded its recycling program to the commercial sector with the adoption of the Construction and Demolition Recycling Ordinance on January 31, 2009. This ordinance requires at least 50% of the total construction and demolition debris generated by a covered project be reused or recycled.
- Businesses - Businesses are encouraged to recycle and minimize their refuse. Since Commerce practices an open competitive recycling system, any recycler may provide a business with recycling services provided they obtain a business license from the City and only collect recyclable materials.
The City is responsible for complying with the Federal National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit through Los Angeles County. Compliance requires public education and behavioral change, proper disposal of hazardous waste, water conservation, use of best management practices (BMPs) by businesses, street sweeping, trash collection, litter abatement and mitigation measures for redevelopment projects.
Sources of Stormwater Pollution
Stormwater pollution is the untreated contaminated water that drains from the streets of Commerce through the municipal storm drain system. The runoff eventually drains into the Los Angeles River. The largest source of stormwater pollution in Los Angeles is the general public. The most common pollutants are:
- Trash (fast-food wrappers, cigarette butts and Styrofoam cups)
- Toxins (used motor oil, antifreeze, pesticides, sewage overflow and pet waste)
These pollutants are collected in runoff water from rain storms, garden hoses and sprinklers. They drain from streets, parking lots and lawns into the more than 600 catch basins in Commerce and into a system of underground pipes and open channels to the Los Angeles River that leads the untreated water directly to the ocean. The trash and toxins that end up in the ocean are harmful to marine life and humans.
The City is responsible for preserving quality of life for its residents and business community, and it works with regulatory agencies to improve the environmental conditions of our community.
Watching the Levels of Four Pollutants
The Southern California Air Quality Management District (AQMD) monitors and forecasts levels of four pollutants: ozone (the main ingredient of smog), carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and particulates. Although some emissions occur naturally in the atmosphere, most are from human activities at work, at home and on the road. They are released from cars, trucks, buses, planes, trains, ships, refineries, factories, gasoline stations, solvent-based paints and cleaners and consumer products.
Formation of Smog
Smog is air pollution that is formed when gases from many sources mentioned are released into the air and chemically react with each other in sunlight. Ocean breezes sweep the smog inland toward the mountains where an inversion layer of warm air pushes it down, trapping the smog close to the ground where we live and breathe.