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Strict New Stormwater Runoff Rules Approved For San Diego

Above: A sign warns beach-goers to stay out of the water because of contamination.

Aired 5/13/13 on KPBS News.

Toxins, sewage and trash regularly flow into San Diego's beaches and rivers by way of storm drains after a heavy rain. To combat the problem, San Diego Water regulators have approved strict new rules.

Toxins, sewage and trash regularly flow to San Diego's beaches and rivers by way of storm drains after a heavy rain. To combat the problem, San Diego Water regulators have approved strict new rules on storm water runoff.

San Diego County Department Of Health

2012 Beach Health Breakdown

San Diego County Department Of Health

2012 beach closure days in San Diego County.

The five-year Regional MS4 Permit, approved Wednesday, will require local governments across the county to reduce pollutants in storm drains, monitor clean-up results, and take action when goals aren't met.

Unlike previous permits in place since 1990, municipalities will be held accountable to reach clean water goals by using their own discretion to meet the mandated cleanup measures.

Storm water discharge permit holders have a wide range of cleanup strategies available, such as installing storm drain filters, street sweeping, increasing public awareness and using permeable street pavement materials to allow water to seep into the ground, said Wayne Chiu, water resource control engineer with the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board.

"As we’ve developed our water sheds, we’ve created a lot of impervious surfaces," said Chiu. "We’ve got a lot of rooftops out there now, we’ve got a lot of streets and concrete cover on the environment, basically. All of that really concentrates pollutants and contaminants, makes it run off of the surface faster."

Chui said trash, bacteria and chemicals in storm drains pose a serious threat to human health and water ecosystems.

He said pollutants are tracked through a growing list, started in 1996.

"Back then there were maybe a couple dozen, now we’re up to more than 400 or close to 500 impaired water body pollutant combinations," said Chiu.

"We’re realizing that there are a lot more probems than we realized and a lot of that is attributed or partially attributed to runoff coming off of our developed areas," he added.

The approval followed a series of public hearings and workshops where environmental groups, businesses and local governments expressed input on the permit.


Avatar for user 'DIZZY'

DIZZY | May 11, 2013 at 8:19 a.m. ― 2 years ago

This is CLEARLY AGENDA 21 IMPLIMENTATION. This whole agenda of the left now is to control every stinking part of your life and tax you for every part of it. Designed to steal all of your wealth. Combined with all the other policies the end will justify the means. It is designed to lower the living standard for ALL Americans to the par of third world countries, The book that Barry was reading on the tarmac was titled ( The End of America.) We are seeing that virtually right before our eyes. So for people to come to this country for the American Dream they will be very angry to find that they actually moved to a socialist facist dictatorship state. Their Dream will end up a Nightmare.

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Avatar for user 'muckapoo1'

muckapoo1 | May 11, 2013 at 10:10 a.m. ― 2 years ago

We will spend millions on this. Then, the next big storm to the south will send millions of gallons of polluted water down the Tijuana River and onto our beaches.

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Avatar for user 'STEEVO'

STEEVO | May 16, 2013 at 10:12 a.m. ― 2 years ago

You might listen to less talk radio, especially Glenn Beck. I'd rather not swim in mercury and hyrdrocarbons and I'd like our fisheries to survive.

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Avatar for user 'Alex_Grebenshchikov'

Alex_Grebenshchikov | May 16, 2013 at 11:24 a.m. ― 2 years ago

muckapoo1, you are right on the money. This is like a person bleeding to death from an open wound but worrying about a hangnail on their toe.

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