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Using the Los Angeles River

The Los Angeles River is an iconic part of our city, flowing through a large and diverse metropolitan area. Like urban waterways around the world, it is becoming increasingly popular for recreational activities, but like other urban waterways, the River is also vulnerable to the impacts of human activities.

Efforts are ongoing to ensure full compliance with water quality regulations and to target pollutants at the source to prevent them from entering the River. To reduce the amount of bacteria in the L.A. River and improve the overall water quality in our local waterways, Los Angeles has modified over 40,000 catch basins with screens and inserts, installed thirteen netting systems and five hydrodynamic units. The City has many other programs in place to improve the water quality of L.A. River, including street sweeping, catch basin cleaning, inspections of commercial and industrial facilities, and public education, including the additional posting of instructional signage for health safety. The City has also invested significantly in upgrading the Donald C. Tillman and Los Angeles Glendale Water Reclamation Plants.

The water quality of the L.A. River is monitored regularly by the City of Los Angeles, Council for Watershed Health and Heal the Bay. Starting next spring, weekly water quality updates will be available on the City Bureau of Sanitation (LASAN) website, as well as those of partnering community organizations. Regular email updates can also be requested from LASAN.

Access to and use of open space and waterways is a public right and supports individual and community health and fosters environmental stewardship. However, the public should be aware of the water quality and make informed decisions. If individuals choose to enjoy the River through water activities such as kayaking, appropriate precautions should be taken, including:

  • Do not swim in the River.

  • Only kayak on the River with licensed kayaking outfitters or at approved areas.

  • Wash hands and exposed skin after water contact.

  • Wait 72 hours after a rain event before accessing the River.

  • If you do experience illness or skin irritation, visit a medical professional.

  • Questions or concerns can be directed to LASAN by calling (800) 773-2489.

Keeping the River clean is everyone’s responsibility. When visiting the River, use only designated trash receptacles or take your litter away with you. Never dispose of any waste down storm drains, pick up after your pets, don’t overwater your lawn or wash your car in the street. Please also consider participating in one of several L.A. River clean-ups held throughout the year.

With everyone’s help, we can continue to transform the River into one of L.A.’s greatest recreational treasures.

City of Los Angeles

Council for Watershed Health

Heal the Bay

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