CAPE Represented Surveyors Protect Hillside Neighborhoods from Rocks and Floods

Los Angeles County Surveyors from the Department of Public Works are protecting hillside homes from rocks and floods. County surveyors are working every day to reduce the risk for the neighborhoods adjacent to the Station Fire burn areas.

Following the October 2009 Station Fire that scorched more than 160,000 acres, department engineers immediately engaged in efforts to expand the capacity of the sediment placement site located on the corner of Markridge Road and Dunsmore Avenue in La Crescenta. The project is now an ongoing, multi-year effort and combines two smaller sediment placement sites into one larger site

CAPE Members Arnold Martinez (left) and Eric Del Bosque (right) discuss the final placement angle of the main drainage pipe.

These sediment placement sites are critical to maintaining the capacity of the adjacent debris basins. Vegetation burned off the hillsides allows any significant downpour to produce tons of heavy debris. This runoff normally flows directly into debris basins, but when the basins are full, they must be rapidly emptied or risk overflowing and the debris spilling into residential areas. The La Crescenta sediment placement site will shorten the time it takes to empty the debris basins preventing the potential for an overflow.

For the La Crescenta site, surveyors were first utilized before any construction started in order to accurately map the site for engineers to draw up construction plans. Precise measurements were taken by the surveyors in order for engineers to accurately estimate the amount of materials and other resources needed for the project. These measurements provide an important cost control mechanism ensuring that the project does not exceed its budget.

Upon final approval of the plans by engineers, surveyors are again dispatched to stake out boundaries for retaining walls, drains, and other features of the project. They are also onsite during the implementation phase to make sure that construction proceeds according to specifications.

During the December storms, improved capacity of debris basins throughout the county helped avert disaster for many residents. With the first phase of the new La Crescenta sediment placement site project nearing completion, yet another part of the county stands ready for the continuing storm season.

Cleanout surveys are taking place at Mull Canyon, Mullaly Debris Basin, Santa Anita Dam and Eaton Wash

The main drainage pipe at the La Crescenta Sediment Placement site.

Spreading Basin. Surveyors from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works are represented by the California Association of Professional Employees (CAPE), AFL-CIO. Please call 626-284-2400 for more information.


From ensuring the safety of roads, buildings, and bridges, to mapping out future housing and infrastructure needs, CAPE-members perform a wide variety of vital public services that support the nearly 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. Unfortunately, our members' dedication and contributions too often go unnoticed or are mischaracterized by the popular media.

Just as we serve as your voice in the workplace, the California Association of Professional Employees is dedicated to programs that strengthen the image of public service professionals and foster stronger relationships for you with opinion leaders and elected officials.