Regulations

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“Only Rain in the Storm Drain!”

Drain to OceanThe City’s MS4 NPDES Permit , issued by the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Program outlines the regulations promulgated by the EPA and the State and prescribes the programs that the City must implement in order to control pollution to the maximum extent practicable (MEP). Chapter 15.10 of the City’s Municipal Code provides the City’s regulations in response to the Permit.

In simple terms, only rain should enter the streets and storm drains. Some common activities , if precautions are not taken, can cause pollutants to enter the storm drain system which leads directly out to our beaches and ocean causing water pollution.

One of the biggest sources of water pollution is sprinkler runoff from our yards and landscaped areas! Outdoor Water conservation Tips can help you save water and money and protect our beaches and ocean at the same time.

Illegal Discharges 

Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) 

Water Quality Management Plan (WQMP)

Illegal discharges are discharges from business and residential activities that enter the streets and storm drain system resulting in pollution at our beaches and ocean. Some examples of illegal discharges include:

  • Wash water from cleaning or hosing parking lots, streets, sidewalks, driveways, patios, plazas, work yards and outdoor eating or drinking areas.
  • Wash or hose water from car washing.  Please refer to the Car Washing Rules for Residents to see ways you can wash your car in compliance with regulations.
  • Sprinkler runoff.
  • Discharges that result from the cleaning, repair or maintenance of any type of equipment, machinery, or facility including motor vehicles, cement-related equipment, and port-a-potty servicing.
  • Sewage Discharges.
  • Discharges of wash water from mobile operations such as mobile automobile washing/detailing, steam cleaning, power washing, and carpet cleaning.
  • Discharges of runoff from material storage areas containing chemicals, fuels, grease, oil, or other hazardous material.
  • Discharges of pool or fountain water containing residual chlorine, biocides, or other chemicals; discharges of pool or fountain backwash water.

Best Management Practices (BMPs) have been developed so that activities can be conducted in a manner that will not violate the laws. Tips & Requirements for Residents and Tips & Requirements for Businesses provide a variety of brochures and resources to help you conduct your activities without impacting our precious environment.

Allowable discharges are not normally significant sources of pollutants. Activities that produce these discharges may be conducted using Best Management Practices ( BMPs ) that prevent or reduce pollutants that may flow to creeks and the ocean. Below is a list of the allowed discharges.

  • Discharges composed entirely and solely of rain water
  • Dechlorinated swimming pool discharge
  • Uncontaminated pumped ground water discharge*
  • Uncontaminated ground water infiltration
  • Footing drain discharge*
  • Water from crawl space pumps*
  • Springs
  • Air conditioning condensation discharge
  • Flows from riparian habitats and wetland discharge
  • Discharges authorized by current EPA or Regional or State Board issued NPDES permits, State General Permits, or other waivers, permits, approvals or authorizations granted by a government agency; and all other discharges otherwise authorized under federal or State law, such as potable water transmission line flushing by water purveyors
  • Discharges from property for which best management practices set forth in the development project guidance are being implemented and followed
  • Emergency fire fighting activities

*This discharge exception may require compliance with a State or Regional Board permit for groundwater extraction or similar discharges to surface waters.  The City is not prohibiting the discharge except where the Authorized Enforcement Staff determines the discharge has caused or is causing or is threatening to cause, a condition of pollution, contamination or nuisance.

Best Management Practices (BMPs) have been developed so that activities can be conducted in a manner that will not violate the laws. Tips & Requirements for Residents and Tips & Requirements for Businesses provide a variety of brochures and resources to help you conduct your activities without impacting our precious environment.

Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL)
The San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board recently adopted an indicator bacteria TMDL for beaches and creeks. This program will regulate the amount of indicator bacteria that can be discharged into these waterbodies to restore beneficial uses. The complete document is available at: http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/tmdl/index.shtml.

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