Learn More: Report Pollution

What does this mean?

Every one of us contributes pollution to our streams, bays, and coastal waters. The wastewater, dirt, and debris of our lives eventually drain downstream. Each of us must minimize our contribution to keep our waterways healthy and enjoyable. Some materials are powerful pollutants like raw sewage, petroleum, or pesticides, but even natural, biodegradable plant materials can add nitrogen to waterbodies and cause algal blooms and fish kills.

All discharges and dumping into the stormwater system are illegal, except for the following:

  • air conditioning condensate
  • dechlorinated swimming pool discharges
  • discharges from potable water resources
  • discharges or flows from emergency fire fighting activities  
  • diverted stream flows
  • flows from riparian habitats and wetlands
  • flows from uncontaminated roof drains
  • footing drains
  • foundation drains
  • individual residential car washing
  • irrigation water
  • landscape irrigation
  • lawn watering
  • reclaimed water line flushing authorized pursuant to a permit
  • rising ground waters
  • springs
  • street wash waters
  • uncontaminated ground water infiltration
  • uncontaminated pumped ground water
  • water from crawl space pumps
  • water line flushing

Another significant source of pollution in our rivers and streams is sediment eroding from disturbed land. The sediment increases the turbidity of the water, hinders light transmission, smothers aquatic organisms, and transports other pollutants. Both aquatic plant and animal life are affected by this pollutant. The largest source of soft sediment from erosion is typically construction sites where land has been disturbed. For this reason, most all construction sites are required to employ measures to prevent eroded sediment from reaching nearby waterways.

Select the Report an Incident link to provide details to the County investigator. Don't be brief; Describe everything you know about the situation. It is essential that you thoroughly describe the facts. Describe exactly where the problem occurred, including the address. Be specific about how much material you saw. Describe the people involved. Was the weather an important factor? What was the exact time and duration of the event?

How are the data collected? (Methods)

The investigator may telephone you to get additional information. In addition, you will be contacted about the how the situation was resolved (assuming the report is not anonymous).


Caveats and Limitations

The County may choose to report this illegal discharge to another agency in the County, federal, or state government. Incidents involving an imminent threat to public health or safety may be referred to Emergency Response or to the law enforcement agency with appropriate jurisdiction. Your pollution report will not be published on the Water Atlas website, nor will it be sold to any commercial interests.