Golf Courses

Photo of a golf course near the ocean

Preventing runoff from entering our streets and storm drains helps protect our waterways from pollution! All sources of pollution, including runoff from golf course operation activities, are prohibited from leaving your property and entering streets and storm drains. Only rainwater is allowed in the streets and storm drains.

Did you know…

  • Golf courses may use fertilizers, pesticides, and generate organic waste material. These pollutants can be washed into our storm drains that lead to our waterways as a result of over irrigation or rain events where they degrade our water quality and harm aquatic life.
  • Soil and dirt washed from golf carts and golf courses can also harm aquatic life by reducing oxygen levels, blocking light, inhibiting photosynthesis, causing flooding, and promoting algae blooms.
  • Releasing pollutants directly or indirectly into the storm drain system or waterways is a violation of the County’s Watershed Protection Ordinance (WPO).

 

What can I do?

  • Dispose of waste thoughtfully: Conduct regular maintenance to remove green waste and litter from your grounds to keep it out of our storm drain system and waterways. Dispose of waste in covered waste bins or alternatively, drop-off green waste to facilities that will compost them into a beneficial compost or mulch. These facilities are often much less expensive than taking the materials to a landfill. To locate a facility near you, visit https://wastefreesd.org/
 
  • Use Best Management Practices (BMPs) for your business: BMPs are techniques or controls used to prevent or reduce the discharge of pollutants, such as organic waste or chemicals, into the storm drain system. BMPs for the golf course industry include not applying fertilizers or pesticides prior to a rain event, storing chemicals like fertilizers and pesticides in a manner that prevents contact with stormwater, preventing irrigation runoff by watering in short cycles, regularly checking sprinkler alignment, washing golf carts in areas located away from storm drains and waterbodies, and scheduling work that requires excavation or earth moving outside of the rainy season.  

 

Know before you go…

Choose non-toxic, biodegradable pesticide and fertilizers whenever possible. To learn more about these practices, visit the University of California's Integrated Pest Management Program.

 

Contact Us

If you would like to report a golf course discharge concern, have questions about our program, or would like additional information call the County Storm Drain Pollution hotline at: 1(888) 846-0800 or e-mail us at watersheds@sdcounty.ca.gov