San Diego

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Information for Businesses

Protect Water Quality

You and your business play an important role in preventing pollution. As you perform your daily activities on the job, be proactive. It is easier to prevent pollution then to clean it up once it has occurred.

When it rains or when water flows off of properties, it gets collected by the storm drain system. All water that enters the storm drain system flows untreated directly into our creeks, rivers, bays and ocean — along with the pollutants it carries. Trash, debris, sediment, chemicals and other pollutants have the potential to enter our waterways every day if not properly controlled and contained.

Keeping pollutants out of storm drains helps preserve our environment and improve water quality. It can also help you avoid costly fines related to the illegal discharge of pollutants into the storm drain system (PDF icon San Diego Municipal Code Section 43.0301).

Business Inspection Program

The City of San Diego conducts inspections of industrial and commercial facilities and treatment control best management practices within the city limits. Inspections are mandated by the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System Permit (MS4) (Order No. R9-2013-0001) and the PDF icon Municipal Code (§43.03).

City inspectors will examine facilities and/or treatment control best management practices, give suggestions to help with storm water permit compliance and recommend additional ways to reduce the potential for release of pollutants.

Industrial/Commercial Inspection Program

Treatment Control Inspection Program

Storm Drain Stenciling Program

Place signage in visible areas near storm drain inlets, reminding employees not to allow liquids or other pollutants into the storm water system. City storm drain stenciling kits are available from I Love A Clean San Diego.

Construction Site Best Management Practices

Best management practices must be properly used at all construction sites in the City to protect water quality and minimize pollution. To stay in compliance with the law and keep your projects on schedule, make sure best management practices are implemented and maintained year round.

Module 1: Construction Site Best Management Practices Training

Module 2: Construction Site Best Management Practices Training

Module 3: Construction Site Best Management Practices Training



Low Impact Development

Low Impact Development is a storm water best management practices that mimics natural hydrologic processes to treat and control storm water. These practices can help designers, architects, planners and engineers design projects that better manage storm water runoff and prevent pollution on private, commercial or industrial properties.

For more detailed descriptions of Low Impact Development Best Management Practices, please review the PDF icon San Diego Low Impact Development Design Manual.

Here are good examples of Low Impact Development design within the City and included them on the map below so that you can see for yourself how these treatment control structures work in real situations. If you are aware of an outstanding example of Low Impact Development design that was not included on this map, email your suggestions to [email protected]

Sustainable Landscapes

Sustainable landscapes apply water conservation design techniques to reduce outdoor water use, decrease the need for landscape chemicals and minimize the amount of urban runoff that enters the storm drain system. When you switch to a native landscape, apply rainwater harvesting methods and install efficient irrigation systems, you can create a sustainable landscape that is both enjoyable and improves water quality.

Flood Prevention Tips

Compared to other cities, the volume of rainfall in San Diego may not seem like a big deal — but it is. Trash, debris and other types of pollution can get carried along with the rain water into the storm drain system and into our local waterways. San Diego’s rainy season is Oct. 1 through April 30.

You can help reduce flooding and storm water pollution by following these helpful tips:

  1. Keep storm drains clear.
    Reduce flooding by sweeping regularly and clearing away debris, such as trash, leaves or sediment that might clog the storm drain.
  2. Keep your property clean.
    Reduce flooding and pollution by cleaning curbs, gutters, alleys and parking in and around your business.
  3. Have a Flood Plan.
    Train your employees about properly storing and securing materials in the event of rain.
  4. Be Prepared.
    Use sand bags and other barriers to keep rain out and prevent pollutants from being released.

Rain needs to flow freely into storm drain inlets and away from commercial areas. Reduce flood risk near your business and keep our beaches and bays clean.

Special Tips


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