The storm drain system in Orange County was built to prevent flooding of inland areas. Storm flow is diverted directly to the Pacific Ocean and away from populated areas and streets. As a result, both stormwater and urban runoff (water resulting from excessive water usage during dry periods; not resulting from precipitation) flow, untreated, to the Pacific Ocean via an extensive series of creeks and channels. Water that flows into the sewer system, or water resulting from indoor activities, is treated at a waste water treatment plant before ever re-entering the environment. This water can also be treated to become drinking water again.
Fertilizers, pesticides, dirt/sediment, metals, pet waste, trash/debris and oil and vehicle fluids are the main pollutants of concern found in Orange County waterways. Several of these pollutants cause problems such as algal blooms, excessive bacterial growth, toxicity to animals, unsightly beaches and beach closures. It is important for all residents of Orange County to reduce runoff from their lawns or driveways and to take steps to reduce their footprint.
For more information on how you can prevent surface water and Ocean pollution, please visit our public education page. Remember – The Ocean Begins At Your Front Door!