It doesn't rain a lot in Southern California (just ask Albert Hammond for those of you who remember the 1972 song), but when it does, the rain presents a mixed bag of blessing and hazard. While the rain nourishes the earth and fills our reservoirs, it also washes everything from litter and oil to fertilizer and pet waste into our storm drains and ultimately into our bays and ocean.
Residential areas have been shown to be a common source of urban runoff in the San Diego Region. Landscape maintenance, home remodeling projects, and improper waste disposal are some of the activities that cause bacteria, nutrients, sediment, pesticides and trash to flow into our storm drains and ultimately into our waterways and our beautiful bay.
While waste water from toilets, sinks and showers is treated at a wastewater treatment plant, storm drain water is not. Anything that drains into a storm drain goes directly to the nearest creek, bay, lagoon or the ocean without being filtered or treated. The result is polluted water.
But you can help! Sweep up around your home and yard to reduce trash, grass clippings and soil from being washed into the storm drain. Place trash into containers with lids. Sweep up grass clippings and leaves for composting or place this material into the green recycling containers. Check your irrigation system and don’t overwater. Turn off water sprinkler systems when it rains.
You can also help protect your property and the county infrastructure by placing sandbags to block mud and debris runoff, especially around storm drains. Free sand and bags are available throughout the unincorporated areas of the county. A complete listing of locations is on the DPW website.
By doing these few tasks you can help to reduce water pollution and protect our beaches and bays.
For more information on how to keep your watershed clean, go to: http://www.sdcounty.ca.gov/dpw/watersheds.html
Download a really cool thinkBLUE Solution to Stormwater Pollution 2012 calendar.
Watch a video that explains what County departments are doing to protect storm drains,
So what's the difference between water that comes off your driveway and lawn and what that comes from your house plumbing? A picture here is worth a thousand words.