What is Storm Water Management?
On November 8, 2012, the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board (Regional Board) adopted the Final Waste Discharge Requirements for Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Discharges within the Coastal Watersheds of Los Angeles County. The City of Burbank is a co-permittee in fulfilling the requirements of this State-issued municipal storm water permit, which regulates discharges of storm water and urban runoff from the MS4s (storm drain systems). Click here for more information on the MS4 permit.
The permit essentially prohibits any non-storm water discharges from entering the MS4 (storm drain) system. Any discharge or loose material, whether it is onto a public sidewalk or street or even overflowing from someone's yard, will flow untreated into the storm drains and ultimately into local rivers, affecting all inhabitants. From the local rivers, the discharge or loose material will flow into the ocean, further affecting the users and inhabitants of the ocean. Examples of activities which contribute pollution into the local rivers and the ocean include people washing their cars outside in their driveways, or washing paint brushes, stucco, and cement containers on an impervious (parking lot, sidewalk, street) surface. Failure to comply with any of the provisions written in the MS4 permit will subject the City to Notices of Violation, fines, and bad publicity, not to mention the effect penalties or fines may have on City services such as street sweeping, roadway improvements, and tree trimming. As Burbank residents and rate payers, you can all do your part to reduce or control pollution – causing or contributing to pollution would otherwise have a direct effect on the quality of life in Burbank to you and your community. LA County’s Clean Water, Clean Beaches measure has a very useful video (http://vimeo.com/53356550) illustrating the various dynamics involved with storm water.
This would be considered a prohibited discharge/practice in the MS4 permit and subjects the City and the responsible person or entity responsible for this action to Notices of Violation, fines, and bad publicity.
*How Can I Do My Part?
Examples of what you can do to reduce or control pollution include:
- Dispose of trash and cigarettes into a trash bin. Trash is not aesthetically pleasing and increases City maintenance activities, and cigarettes are very toxic and are not removed or recovered by street sweepers.
- Avoid cleaning brushes or rinsing paint containers in the street, gutter or near a storm drain. For latex paint, rinse brushes in the sink. Filter and reuse oil based paint and thinners. Recycle leftover paint at a household hazardous waste collection event, save it for touch ups or give it to someone who can use it.
- When working with concrete, cement, or mortar, prevent materials from blowing or flowing to a driveway, street, or storm drain. When excavating and landscaping, protect dirt piles from wind and rain.
- Excessive soil sediment can add too many nutrients, cloud waters, change stream temperature, limit oxygen levels, and cover spawning areas. Protecting the area where accelerated erosion is occurring is very important.
- Never use fertilizers or pesticides before a rain event is forecasted.
- Use a broom rather than a hose to clean up garden clippings. Don't leave leaves and lawn clippings in the gutter. Sweep any residue after yard waste pick-up, but don't sweep into the storm drain.
- Minimize grassed areas which require high maintenance. Spread mulch on bare ground to help prevent erosion and runoff. Compost your yard trimmings.
- Consider composting, which is a valuable soil conditioner that gradually releases nutrients to your lawn and garden.
- Divert rain spouts and garden hoses from paved surfaces onto grass and planted areas to allow filtration through the soil.
- Water only your lawn and garden -- not the sidewalk or driveway.
- Test your soil before applying fertilizers. Over fertilization is a common problem, and the excess can leach into ground water or contaminate local rivers and the ocean.
- Clean up after your pets. Pet waste contains nutrients and pathogens that can contaminate local rivers. Dispose of pet waste in a trash can.
- Clean up spilled brake fluid, oil, grease, and antifreeze by absorbing them using kitty litter or sand and then dispose of the material at a local household hazardous waste event. Do not hose them into the street where they can eventually reach local rivers and the ocean.
- Pull a Public Works permit for a dechlorinated/debrominated swimming pool discharge or a non-profit car wash event. Public Works is located at 150 N. Third Street, Burbank CA 91502.
*For more information concerning storm water pollution prevention and best management practices (BMPs) for specific activities, please download our public education brochures below:
Storm Water Monitoring & Management Program Documents
How Do I Report A Prohibited Discharge?
If you witness someone discharging pollutants or fluids into the street, storm drains, or local rivers, please use your voice to educate them or if needed report them to the City's Community Assistance Coordinator at 818-238-5795 or BKramer@burbankca.gov
The health of the local rivers and ocean is in your hands. We can all play a part in reducing litter and dog waste throughout Burbank. Let's work on minimizing the other pollutants too!