Stormwater Pollution

What is stormwater pollution?

Stormwater is water from rain that does not soak into the ground. It flows over paved areas like streets, sidewalks, and parking lots, as well as roofs and sloped lawns. As it flows, stormwater collects and carries pollutants such as litter, pet waste, pesticides, fertilizers, and motor oil. This "toxic soup" then flows through a massive system of pipes and channels directly into our local waterways and the ocean.

What is the difference between the storm drain system and the sanitary sewer system?

The storm drain system and sanitary sewer system are both large systems of underground pipes. This leads to the common misconception that the systems are the same or are connected. They are in fact separate systems and serve different purposes. The sanitary sewer system transports domestic sewage to a treatment plant. Domestic sewage includes wastewater from household and commercial plumbing, such as toilets, showers, and sinks.The storm drain system, on the other hand, was designed to prevent cities from flooding. Its purpose is to quickly transport rain runoff (stormwater) away from the city and into the nearest waterway, without treatment.  Since there is no treatment, any pollution carried by stormwater also enters our waterways untreated.

Where does our stormwater go?

In the City of Artesia, stormwater enters the local storm drain system where it drains to the Coyote Creek, flows to the San Gabriel River  and eventually the Pacific Ocean.

What are the effects of stormwater pollution?

Stormwater pollution can have an adverse impact on our community’s health and environment as well as its local waterways and the ocean.

Health and Environment

Stormwater pollution poses a health threat to people who swim or fish in the ocean. Rain events can produce runoff with high amounts of bacteria, causing beach closures. This impacts recreational uses for the ocean and our local waterways, such as swimming, beach tourism, fishing, and boating.

Stormwater pollution can be toxic to marine life in the ocean and our waterways. Toxic pollutants can also be passed along the food chain. This can result in the contamination of locally caught seafood, making it unsafe for consumption.

Local Community

Local storm drains clogged with litter and debris can impact the local community. These "nests" of trash and debris can attract pests and rodents, create foul odors, clog the storm drain system, and cause flooding. In addition, clogged catch basins are unsightly and can affect neighborhood aesthetics and property values.

Illegal Dumping and Spill Reporting Hotline

To report illegal dumping or a spill, please the Los Angeles County 24-Hour Water Pollution Reporting Hotline at 1-888-CLEAN-LA (1-888-253-2652).

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