Storm Water Pollution Prevention

Storm Water Pollution Prevention / National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)

Background – Storm Drains
Many residents are not aware that Stanton has two drainage systems - the sanitary sewers and the storm drains: 

Sanitary sewer and storm drain system diagram Sanitary sewers drain the pipes connected to your sinks, bathrooms, washing machines, etc. They carry waste to a sewage treatment plant where the water is cleaned and then reused or discharged into the ocean away from beaches. 

• The storm drain system begins at the curb gutter in the street. The sole purpose of the storm drains is to quickly carry rainwater out to the ocean in order to prevent flooding. Thus the water is not treated or filtered like the waste in the sanitary sewer system. As a result, any urban pollution entering the system is discharged directly to the ocean.

What is Stormwater Pollution?

Stormwater pollution occurs when rainfall, especially the "first flush", carries urban pollutants through the storm drain system into the ocean. The pollutants in this urban runoff include oil and other automotive fluids, paint and construction debris, yard and pet wastes, pesticides and litter. Each day 100 million gallons of polluted urban runoff enter the ocean untreated, leaving toxic chemicals in our surf and tons of trash in our beaches.

Where does Stanton’s stormwater go?

Almost all of Stanton's rainwater runoff drains into the Bolsa Chica Channel, which flows into Huntington Harbor and the Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge on the US Naval Weapons Station. The Refuge is part of Anaheim Bay, which flows to the ocean. Huntington Harbor also connects with the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, which also flows to the ocean.

Bolsa Chica Wetlands Bolsa Chica Wetlands
Source: Wikipedia Photo Credit: Hbdragon88 used with permission under the cc-by-sa-2.5 license

Both the Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge and the Bolsa Chica Reserve (as well as Huntington Harbor and Anaheim Bay) host a variety of different creatures that rely on clean water and healthy food sources to survive. Some of the creatures that call these places home are the endangered Green sea turtles, sea lions, fish, 320 different species of birds, and coyotes. Visitors to the area include dolphins, sharks, and migratory birds that use the Seal Beach National Wildlife Preserve as both a stop-over and a winter habitat.

What does the City do to prevent Stormwater Pollution?

To help preserve the quality of life for our residents, beach goers, and sea life, the City of Stanton has implemented a number of programs to help reduce the amount of pollutants mixing with storm water and urban runoff.  By implementing these programs, we hope to not only clean up our water, but preserve aquatic life for years to come. Here is a sample of those programs:

• Water Quality Ordinance – The City has an ordinance to locally enforce state storm water regulations.

• Street sweeping – All residential and commercial streets and City owned and/or operated parking lots are included in regularly scheduled street sweeping.

• Maintenance – Drainage (“catch”) basins are cleaned out on a regular basis. If you see a catch basin that is full please call us at (714) 379-9222 ext 205.

• Investigations – The City has designated Authorized Inspectors to investigate complaints/notifications regarding potential violations of the Water Quality Ordinance. Please call the above number if you have witnessed or are aware of a potential violation.

• Inspections – Several hundred businesses, construction sites, and municipal facilities within the City are inspected for compliance with storm water regulations. The inspections ensure the use of Best Management Practices (BMPs).

• Training – City employees routinely attend training to ensure the awareness and use of BMPs in the City and at inspected sites.

• Public Education – The City participates in the County’s public education and outreach program and also implements its own active program. The City’s program includes TV advertising, mailers, educational booths and materials at City events, and this web site!

• New Development – The City requires certain new developments to install structural storm water treatment controls to reduce and prevent pollution from running off the site.

What can I do to prevent Stormwater Pollution?

As a resident or business owner in Stanton there are some simple steps you can take to help prevent stormwater pollution.

• Vehicle Maintenance – Keep your vehicles in good running order and perform routine maintenance to prevent leaks from oil and other car fluids. Leaks from vehicles on the ground often times are a primary source of pollution in runoff.

• Spills – If you have a spill, don't hose it down into the gutter or storm drains. The best thing to do is to clean it up with absorbent materials such as kitty litter, and promptly dispose of the material after the spill has been absorbed.

• Car Washing – Take your vehicle to a car wash instead of washing at home.  If you choose to wash at home, divert the wash water onto your lawn or garden and use a biodegradable, phosphate-free detergent. Also, using a bucket (not a running hose) to wash and rinse your car conserves water.

• Recycle your used oil – Oil doesn’t wear out – it can be recycled for reuse as engine oil, as well as other uses. We have 3 used oil recycling centers.    

  • Kragen Auto Parts   11951 Beach Blvd.  (714) 799-7574
  • Pick Your Part Auto Wrecking  8188 Katella Ave. (714) 901-8012
  • Scher Tire    7000 Katella Ave.  (714) 892-9924

• Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) – Leftover household products that contain corrosive, toxic, ignitable, or reactive ingredients are considered to be "household hazardous waste" or "HHW".  Not only is it unsafe to dispose of HHW improperly, it is illegal.  Simply drop them off at a Household Hazardous Waste Collection Center (HHWCC) for free disposal and recycling.  There are four HHWCCs in Orange County:

  •  Anaheim -    1071 N. Blue Gum St.
  •  Huntington Beach -  17121 Nichols St.
  •  Irvine -    6411 Oak Canyon
  •  San Juan Capistrano -  32250 La Pata Ave.

• Yard Maintenance:

  • Leaves: Sweeping or raking up garden debris and recycling it as green waste is better for the environment.  “Grasscycling” reduces thatch, improves the soil and reduces fertilizer requirements while compost releases nutrients slowly and creates healthier soil and plants. 
  • Fertilizers: Use fertilizers sparingly and don't fertilize near ditches, streams, or other water bodies.  Improve the health of your soil by adding compost and using organic mulches.  Consider using organic fertilizers, since they release nutrients more slowly.  Leave grass clippings on your lawn as a natural fertilizer.
  • Pesticides: Use non-toxic pesticide alternatives whenever possible.  Organic Pesticides are a good option. Integrated Pest Management is also a great long term solution for your garden.

• Pet Waste:

  • Pick up after your pets. All of them.  Pet waste from dogs and cats if left on yours or someone else’s lawn can easily end up in the storm drain and pollute the waters they enter. 
  • Pool Maintenance: Make sure your pool is algae free and dechlorinated before pumping to the street. Please do not drain your salt water pools to the street.  Salt water negatively impacts our native flora and fauna. Fresh water animals (such as frogs and tadpoles) will not survive any influx of salt water into their habitats.