El Niño and Urban Runoff

Alpha_Robertsons-StormDrain_(2).JPGThis year’s El Niño is proving to be just as strong as the record breaking 1997-1998 event that flooded California. As El Niño fueled rains continue to enter storm drains, it is important to remember stormwater carries debris, animal waste, chemicals and other pollutants—also known as urban runoff—into local waterways without a filtration system in place.

Unlike a water treatment facility, runoff remains untreated and contains harmful substances. It is very important to avoid body contact with waterways or flooded areas during and three days after a storm as contaminated water is a public health concern and can increase your chances of unwanted bacterial infections.

What can you do to minimize pollutants entering storm drains? The easiest thing you can do is pick up any litter left on the streets; if you are a dog owner, pick up your pet's waste; and most importantly, properly dispose of harmful chemicals or substances.

What is Inland Empire Waterkeeper doing to ensure harmful substances are not entering the Santa Ana River and other waterways? During rain events, Waterkeeper collects industrial discharge, tests the water samples for toxic contaminants and works with industrial polluters to manage and reduce pollutants entering local waterways under the federal Clean Water Act.


Donate to IE Waterkeeper to support our enforcement efforts for a swimmable, drinkable, fishable Santa Ana Watershed!