How You Can Help Prevent Stormwater Pollution

As we learned in the previous blog, stormwater runoff can be negatively affected by the highly urban nature of Los Angeles, consequently contaminating our waterways, harming wildlife and wildlife habitat, and threatening human health. Stormwater management plans are being adopted by cities, large and small, across the country, but may take years to become fully implemented. That is why we are focusing this blog on what can be done on an individual level to contribute to proper stormwater management. (Source for picture:Ryan Larsen/"DrDrainage



Stormwater: rainfall or snowmelt that gathers on the ground and either soaks into the ground, evaporates, or rejoins the oceans via nearby waterways. Stormwater is an essential part of the water cycle but can be interrupted by development and urban environments.(Source for picture:

Polluted stormwater runoff: rain that falls on hard surfaces (aka impervious surfaces) like streets, parking lots, rooftops, driveways, and sidewalks. This water gathers pollutants form these hard surfaces while it flows to nearby waterways. These pollutants can include: 

  • Coolants, oils, greases, metals, brake fluid and other vehicles fluids                             

  • Fertilizers, pesticides, and yard waste from both industrial agriculture and households

  • Pet waste

  • Soil from construction sites and bare ground                                               

  • Soaps from washing cars and equipment

  • Cigarette butts and other litter or debris

  • Accidental spills and leaky storage containers

How You Can Help...                                                                                                                                                                        

Automotive Care


  • Make sure your car stays tuned up! If your car is leaking, make sure it gets repaired right away, if this is not possible, place a drip pan beneath your car to catch the drips.
  • Dispose of used automotive fluids and batteries at designated drop off locations.
  • Use commercial car washes that treat and recycle water or wash your car on your lawn so that soaps and oils can filter through the ground.
  • Walk or ride your bike more often!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Residential Yard Care


  • Replace chemical pesticides with natural ones. Naturaland inexpensive home recipes can be found online, click here for an example.
  • Start composting food scraps and yard waste! Composting keeps yard waste from clogging storm drains and acts as a great fertilizer for your lawn and garden.
  • If you do apply pesticides and fertilizers, do so wisely. Do no apply pesticides and fertilizers before it rains, read directions carefully, and do not apply more than recommended.
  • Place a rain barrel beneath the downspout of your gutter to collect rainwater. This water can be used to water your lawn and save you money on your water bill.
  • 8thAve_RainGarden1.jpgReplacing concrete and asphalt driveways with permeable pavement allows for water tosoak into theground instead of running off into nearby stormdrains.
  • Implement rain gardens and grassy swales. These are specially designed hallow groves on your lawn, landscaped with native plants, that help gather runoff fromrooftops and pavement before it reaches the storm drain. Photo credit: Rain Dog Designs, Gig Harbor, WA.                                                                 


Pet Waste                                             

Pet waste left on the ground runs into local waterways bringing harmful bacteria and excess nutrients. Pick up your petwaste to ensure it stays out of local waterways and you stay on good terms with your neighbors! 


No Dumping  

  • Do not dump anything down storm drains! Anything that enters storm drains is carried to the ocean untreated.

  • Do not litter, litter clogs storm drains and causes flooding.


Plant More Trees 

Trees provide shade, save energy, clean our air, increase property value, reduce noise from traffic, provide habitat for wildlife, and also help soak up stormwater. By planting more trees on your property, or encouraging your property manager to do so, you will be increasing your property value, and helping to properly manage stormwater. 



Volunteer with Industrial District Green to plant and care for trees in the Industrial District of Downtown Los Angeles! This helps manage stormwater runoff in an area of the city that needs it most. Keep an eye out for upcoming volunteer opportunities!