Many Riverside County residents are unaware of the storm water pollution (polluted runoff) problem, and the threat it poses to the local Santa Ana river, lakes and streams. In fact, many people don't realize that storm drains connect to local waterways so whatever ends up in the storm drains flows directly - without treatment - to our rivers, lakes and streams.
Another misconception is that storm drain pollution happens only when it rains. Actually, throughout the dry part of the year, pollutants such as motor oil, antifreeze, trash and grease accumulate on streets and parking lots. When rain finally does fall, the rain water carries these pollutants into the storm drain. Even common activities such as over watering lawns and landscaped areas, car washing and hosing down driveways or pet waste droppings cause pollutants to make their way into the storm drain.
The storm drain pollution protection program encourages everyone to find out what YOU can do to help keep our precious waterways clean and to protect our natural resources.
Common contaminants found in polluted runoff:
Heavy Metals - metals and toxic contaminants from vehicle exhaust, tire compounds, motor oil, and weathered paint.
Restaurant oils and grease - fuels and lubricants enter storm drains from leaks and spills of automobile engines, transmissions, radiators, and improper dumping of oil into storm drains.
Pesticides, Herbicides and Fertilizers - chemicals that are over-applied during yard care enter storm drains from watering landscaped areas.
Solvents and Household Chemicals - paint thinners, oil and water based paints, degreasers, detergents, bleach, drain cleaners, and other household products enter local waters if dumped into storm drains or onto streets.
Bacteria and Plant Nutrients - bacteria from sewage, animal waste, litter, decomposing vegetation, and septic leaks cause serious health problems.
Since preventing pollution is much easier and less costly than cleaning up after the fact, we should all learn what we can do to help keep our water clean! Please visit the Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation District website http://rcflood.org/stormwater to download several FREE brochures and materials that provide simple pollution prevention activities that you can easily incorporate into daily activities.