Stormwater 101

Our every day activities can impact water quality in our creeks, rivers, bays and the Pacific Ocean. Though stormwater and urban runoff pollution comes from many sources, there are several ways that you can lessen or eliminate adding to that impact. Here are a few simple tips for activities you do around your home that can positively impact the environment:

Take care of your car

  • Motor oil from leaks and brake dust from your wheels are common pollutants found in Orange County waterways. 
    • What to do – maintain your car to prevent oil or other fluids from leaking.  Take your car to a commercial carwash where the pollutants are captured and the wash water is often recycled.

Pick up after your pets

  • Pet waste left on sidewalks or parkways wash into our storm drains and straight to our waterways when it rains. 
    • What to do – Take a bag with you on your walks to pick up after your pet.  Dispose of the waste in the trash.

    Don’t overwater your lawn

    • Usually after your sprinklers have been on for five minutes, your lawn becomes saturated and water begins running off into the street.  Not only is this a waste of water, but it washes pollutants from the street into the storm drains.
      • What to do – Use timers to set your sprinklers for no more than five minutes or use a drip irrigation system.  Don’t water before, during, or right after it rains.  Hand-water with a hose using an automatic shut-off nozzle to limit water use.

    Following these tips gets you started on becoming a “Watershed Wizard.”

    What Happens to Stormwater Runoff?

    Click here to continue this short Stormwater 101 tutorial.  At the end there is a Stormwater IQ test and you can earn a “Watershed Wizard” certificate!

    Related Links

  • Storm Water IQ
  • Residents Brochures
  • Ocean Begins Brochure