Keeping stormwater drains, rivers, lakes, and oceans free of hazardous waste
One of San Diego region’s most valuable natural resource is water and keeping our waterways clean is a concern of most residents. Surveys conducted across San Diego County show that more than 50% of residents believe that pollution of our beaches, lakes, and creeks directly affects them and their families. One way our waterways can be negatively impacted is from hazardous waste and other pollutants entering our stormwater system.
The County of San Diego maintains a complex storm drainage system used to carry water away from homes and businesses. Water released to the streets, gutters, and storm drains in San Diego County is not filtered or treated before it reaches our local creeks, rivers, and the ocean. All sources of pollution, including trash and green waste, solvent and degreasers, vehicle fluids, and other hazardous waste, can degrade water quality. Because of this, hazardous waste and other types of pollution are prohibited from leaving County resident’s property and entering the streets or storm drains. Only rainwater is allowed in the streets and storm drains.
More detailed information on how various types of pollutants impact water quality can be found here.
What is hazardous waste?
Household hazardous waste is the unused or leftover portion of any hazardous chemicals or materials. Any leftover household product that is labeled with DANGER, WARNING, TOXIC, CAUTION, POISON, FLAMMABLE, CORROSIVE, or REACTIVE is considered a household hazardous waste.
Examples of common household hazardous waste materials include aerosol cans, automotive fluids, household cleaners, paint and stains, pesticides, pool chemicals, propane and more. These materials should never be thrown into the trash or poured down the sink, sewer or storm drains. Improper disposal may injure refuse workers, pollute ground water, and waterways.
The County of San Diego provides information specific to the disposal of other types of waste, including universal waste (i.e., common batteries, computer and television monitors, fluorescent light bulbs, mercury thermometers), pharmaceutical waste (i.e., unwanted medication), leftover paint, and home sharps (i.e., needles, syringes and lancets). In addition, small business disposal options are available. The next household hazardous waste collection event will be held in Borrego Springs in March 2020.
How can you help prevent stormwater pollution?
- Good housekeeping practices like sweeping up litter, picking up pet waste, recycling, and composting.
- Implementing practices to control or prevent runoff, spills or leaks from your property.
- Adjust your sprinklers to ensure they water your landscape and not the pavement.
- Properly dispose of wastes and leftover materials at County-approved disposal locations.
Interested in learning more?
- The County of San Diego Wastershed Protection Program helps to ensure that our waterways are protected by preventing pollutants from entering the County’s storm drain system.
- Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facilities – Information on the County’s two permanent collection facilities to accept waste from unincorporated County residents.
- If you do not live in the unincorporated areas of the County, you can contact your city’s household hazardous waste program for disposal information.
- Hazardous Waste Management for Businesses – A collection of resources tailored to businesses who generate hazardous waste and/or universal waste in the County.
- Guidance Handbook to Reduce Water Pollution – Recommendations for selecting Best Management Practices to prevent water pollution for industrial, commercial, municipal and residential activities.
- Residential Stormwater Information and Resources – Helpful documents focused on specific ways residents can help reduce pollutants to our stormwater system and local waterways.
- Waste Free SD – A one-stop zero waste resource which offers information on diversion of household items, recyclables, and household waste from landfills.