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Storm could bring more flooding to San Pedro

February 5, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
It will be a nervous weekend for residents in parts of San Pedro. Just two weeks after several storm drains backed up and flooded several streets, people in the area are worried it could happen again.Steve Verba is still upset about the several inches of rain that flooded his dry cleaning business two weeks ago.

"I didn't have any business. It was terrible," said Verba. "I had to sweep the water out the back door. Mop everything up, destroy the floor. "

Verba, like several others working and living in the San Pedro neighborhood, is still cleaning up after the flood.

Sonal Prajapati says the flood cost more than $20,000 damage to her corner market and forced her to move out of the apartment she rented near the store. Now she fears it may happen again.

"It's ok to rain but I don't want too much rain to come inside," said Prajapati.

This next storm shouldn't be a problem for Prajapati. The storm drain grates, which caused the flooding two weeks ago, have been removed from the neighborhood.

Even though the grates haven't done a good job in preventing streets from flooding, the city of Los Angeles is installing several thousand throughout the city. Officials said the grates are designed to keep trash and debris from flowing into the ocean.

"We basically had a 100-year storm that our system was not designed to handle," said Wing Tam of the Bureau of Sanitation.

The grates were installed by the city to comply with a state mandate requiring Los Angeles to reduce the amount of trash and debris going into the ocean by 10 percent.

Similar grates caused some street flooding in Pacific Palisades too.

"The grates made a disaster and if we haven't had come out here and kicked them in it would have completely flooded the driveway and the sidewalk and the property," said Pacific Palisades resident Maxine Greenspan.

If any rain causes streets to flood in the future, the city is urging residents to call 311 if they see debris clogging the grates. A maintenance program is also underway throughout the city to make sure the storm grates remain clear.