Area Water Pollution A Result of La Brea Tar Pits


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Water pollution, long thought to be a result of industry runoff, has been traced by environmental experts to the La Brea Tar Pits. During times of heavy rain, runoff from the Pits has overwhelmed the temporary system put in place two years ago.

The pits are the result of oil seeping up through the ground; since the last ice age they have trapped thousands of animals, including woolly mammoths and saber tooth tigers. The pits attract about 350,000 visitors annually.

Other groups have said previous oil slicks have caused serious damage to birds and plants, and they questioned whether the temporary solution could successfully catch all of the tar pit runoff.

“Those pollutants can have a pretty severe effect on species,” said Liz Crosson, executive director of Santa Monica Baykeeper, which has sued the county over the polluted runoff released into the region’s larger urban waterways, including the Los Angeles and San Gabriel rivers.

With the tar pit pollution, Crosson said, “it’s disappointing that it’s taken five years or more for L.A. County to take action. But I’m glad to see they’re putting in a more permanent solution.” LA Times, 29 Nov 2011.

The city has allocated $2 million to fix the problem.