Water Quality Impacts - What You Can Do

As material gathers in the street curb and gutters and curbs inlets (storm drain system), it will be transported untreated into the San Dieguito or Los Peñasquitos lagoons and ultimately the ocean, as pollution.  This occurs when water enters the storm drain system in two forms: 1) rain event or 2) non-storm water discharges (e.g., irrigation runoff, car washing).

The following are some examples of non-storm water discharges:
  • Building materials or dirt coming off the property of construction sites;
  • Power washing or mobile detailing operations whose run-off is flowing into the storm drain system;
  • Irrigation runoff where irrigation waters runoff into the streets or storm drain system;
  • Residents/ landscapers/ or others using hoses to wash down driveways or gutters into the street; 
  • Restaurants washing their mats or equipment and allowing the runoff to flow into the streets or alleyways.
Several residential activities can result in water pollution and the following are some of the common pollutants for which you can be part of the solution:

  • Pet Waste – Pet waste carries bacteria through our watersheds that are eventually washed out to the ocean.This can pose a health risk to swimmers and surfers. 
    • The Solution – Pick up after your pet.
  • Pesticides and Fertilizer – Pesticides that are designed to be toxic to pests are equally lethal to our marine life. The same fertilizer that promotes plant growth in lawns and gardens also creates algae blooms in waterbodies. Algae removes oxygen from the water and clog waterways.
    • The Solution – Never use pesticides / fertilizers within 48 hours of an anticipated rainstorm and use only the prescribed amounts.
  • Dirt & Sediment – Dirt or sediment negatively impact stream habitats. Pollutants attach to sediment, which then are transported through our waterways.
    • The Solution – Protect dirt stockpiles by covering them with tarps or plastic sheets to prevent wind or rain from washing dirt or sediment into the storm drain system.
  • Trash & Debris – Trash and debris can enter waterways by wind, littering and careless maintenance of trash receptacles. If not collected, trash and debris ends up in our storm drain system where it flows untreated to our lagoons and ocean.
    • The Solution – Don’t litter. Make sure trash containers are properly covered.
  • Motor Oil / Vehicle Fluids – Oil and petroleum products are toxic to people, wildlife and plants.
    • The Solution – Fix leaks from your vehicle and properly maintain your car. Use absorbent material such as cat litter on oil spills, then sweep it up and dispose of it in the trash. Recycle used motor oil at a local Household Hazardous Waste Collection Center.
  • Metals – Metals and other toxins present in car wash runoff can harm important plankton and other wildlife and marine life.
    • The Solution – Take your car to a commercial car wash where the wash water is captured and treated.
We need your help in eliminating pollutants from entering the storm water conveyance system and non-storm water discharges.  If you see any of the above activities or anything of concern, please immediately notify the City at 858-755-9313 extension 172 or submit an Urban Runoff Form online.