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Public Works

San Diego Urges Residents to Report Illegal Trash Dumping into Storm Drains and Channels

Trash dumped in a San Diego channel

If you see someone dumping trash into a storm drain or flood channel, the City of San Diego wants you to report it! The City is calling on residents to help track down illegal dumping violations, and to report trash in or near creeks and other stormwater infrastructure like storm drains and channels.

Illegal dumping is dangerous to the environment, contaminating soil and water. It also risks clogging critical stormwater infrastructure which can increase the risk of localized flooding. Stormwater runoff enters storm drains untreated, and that runoff collects pollutants and carries them into local waterways and beaches, which can harm wildlife and negatively affect the health of a community. Violators can face fines of $1,000 for disposing trash and other materials into the stormwater system.

“Residents play a key role in helping to keep our communities safe and clean,” said Todd Snyder, Director of the Stormwater Department. “If you see something that may be impacting the stormwater system, say something. Do your part by reporting stormwater pollution – such as landscape waste, clogged storm drains or trash in channels – when you see it happening.”

Following the storm that hit the San Diego region on Jan. 22 and caused flooding in several southeast and southern neighborhoods, crews cleared tons of storm debris and trash from more than 14 miles of storm channels under the emergency order. The emergency declaration allowed the City to complete the channel clearing work expeditiously while complying with streamlined regulatory processes under emergency federal permits.

 The City’s massive stormwater system requires regular, proactive maintenance – such as clearing trash and debris, and inspecting and cleaning pipes – to keep runoff flowing properly and to ensure public safety.

Cases of illegal dumping can be reported on the City’s Get It Done app, by calling 619-235-1000 or emailing