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Residential Best Management Practices

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 Residential Best Management Practices (BMPs)

For overviews of ways residents can help reduce pollution in common activities, click on the links below.  The full list of best management practices for residents is available in the City's BMP Manual.

Contact Information

Who To Call:
National City General Information: (619) 336-4380
Stormwater Hotline: (619) 336-4389
Household Toxic Waste: (800) 237-2583

To Report An Illegal Discharge During Business Hours:
For Residential, Commercial and Industrial Activities or Construction Activities dial (619) 336-4389 for the Stormwater Hotline or contact Development Services Department administrative staff at (619) 336-4380.

To Report An Illegal Discharge After Business Hours:
Contact National Police Department non-emergency dispatch at 619-336-4411.


Vehicle Maintenance: Steps that you can take to help the environment

Did you know?

  • Toxic chemicals are contained in many car care products and can contribute to surface and groundwater contamination.
  • Some of the chemicals that can contribute to surface water contamination are: motor oil, antifreeze, battery acid, gasoline, car waxes, degreasers, radiator flushes and rust preventatives.
  • Stormwater contamination can make waters non-drinkable or non-fishable.
  • In addition, cars can contribute indirectly through air emissions-borne particulates.

ChemicalsWhat can you do?

  • If you change fluids from your car, place them into a clean, unbreakable container. Seal it and label it before you take it to a hazardous collects center.
  • Never, ever pour chemicals down the stormdrain system.
  • Recycle used oil at the businesses that you purchase the oil.
  • Don't "top off" when you fuel your car.

Lawn and Garden Care 

When it rains, or when water flows over pavement, this produces urban runoff, which picks up pollutants such as litter, fertilizers, pesticides, automobile brake dust, oil drippings, water from washing your car and pet waste. These pollutants have harmful effects on waterways, recreational areas and wildlife. Unlike the sewer system, which carries water from indoor drains to wastewater treatment plants, urban runoff is carried directly to the storm drain system which then releases this untreated, polluted water into the City's creeks, local channels, rivers and ultimately, the ocean.

Over-fertilizing our lawns causes excess nutrients to be carried down the storm drains and into the waterways untreated. Too many nutrients in the water cause accelerated growth of algae. Algae causes many problems within our waterways affecting fish and wildlife. Some algae put out toxic fumes that can be harmful to humans. Too many nutrients in waterways can also fuel bacteria growth, which has led to contaminated oyster harvesting areas and the closure of public beaches on lakes.

There are many ways we can help reduce pollutants from entering our storm drains. The following list gives examples of how to reduce pollutants.

  • Minimize or eliminate the use of fertilizers, pesticides and other lawn chemicals.
  • When watering landscape, make sure no water makes it to the street or storm drains.  Water making it to the street or a storm drain is prohibited.  The City has created a flyer with tips to help avoid landscape overwatering and information about rebate programs that may be available. 
  • Regularly sweep and clean all outdoor areas to remove any sediment (dirt) and debris. Do not use a hose.
  • Keep a lid on trash cans.
  • Dispose of yard waste more frequently, less grass, leaves and shrubs will wash into storm drains
  • Buy non-toxic products when possible.
  • Clean up and properly dispose spills of gardening chemicals, fertilizers or soils. Dry sweep do not use a hose.
  • Use drought resistant native plants that conserve water, which reduces runoff. Use mulch instead of herbicides to prevent weeds from growing and to help absorb water.
    Limit the amount of paved and covered around your house. Allow water to soak into the ground. 


UPDATE - JULY 10, 2018

  Water Authority Offers Incentive To Replace Grass.  Click HERE for more Information!


Storm drain

Prevention Measures

  1. Keep your vehicle in good working order and tuned regularly to reduce oil use.  Fix any leaks immediately.
  2. When making repairs or performing minor maintenance on your vehicle, make sure you have protected the sidewalk, curb, street and gutter from repair fluids before beginning work.
  3. Recycle oils and other fluids from vehicles or dispose of in the correct manner.  Place fluids in sealable containers.  Do not mix different engine fluids.
  4. Use drip pans beneath your vehicle if you have leaks or are doing engine work.
  5. Wash cars over a landscaped area to absorb the liquid and limit runoff.  Use professional car washes when possible.
  6. Carry a plastic bag when walking pets.
  7. Pick up pet waste and dispose it by placing in the trash, burying it on your property or placing it down the sanitary sewer system (toilet).
  8. Only fertilize where necessary on lawns.  Dry sweep excess fertilizer that ends up on garden paths, driveways etc.
  9. Only buy pesticides and fertilizers in the amounts you will actually use.
  10. Keep gutters swept clear of leaves and grass clippings.
  11. Dry sweep all areas such as patios, driveways, sidewalks, pavements etc.  Put debris in trash to be disposed of in the correct manner.
  12. Clean up and dispose of all trash that is lying around and in the gutters.
  13. Ensure cigarette butts are disposed of in the correct manner and not left to wash down the storm drain
  14. Only use toxic chemicals when necessary and in a sparing manner.  Use environmentally friendly chemicals where possible.
  15. Call 1-800-237-2583 for National City to pick up and remove toxic household wastes.  A co-payment of $5 is required of residents and National City will pay an additional $70 per household collection.

Pet Waste

Did you know that storm drains are not connected to the sanitary sewer systems? Storm drains main purpose is to carry rainwater away from developed areas to prevent flooding. Untreated stormwater and the pollutants it carries, flows directly into our waterways, creeks, lagoons and the ocean.

Pet waste is a health risk to pets and people, especially children. Pet waste contains harmful bacteria and organisms that can spread disease. These bacteria get swept down the storm drain during rains and then goes untreated into our recreational waters, creeks, lagoons, rivers and oceans. These bacteria end up in things such as shellfish living in these waters. People who eat those shellfish may get very sick.

Studies show that dog and cat waste can contribute up to 25% of the harmful bacteria found in our local waterways. Everyone can contribute to reducing this form of pollution in our waterways by the basic steps below:

  • Carry a plastic bag when walking pets and be sure to pick up after them.
  • Clean up pet waste in your yard frequently.
  • Pick up after you pets before cleaning patios, driveways and other hard surfaced areas.  Never hose pet waste into the street or gutter.
  • The best way to dispose of pet waste is to flush it down the toilet because it is treated by a sewage treatment plant.
  • Dispose of waste in a sealed bag and place it in the trash or bury it in your yard in small quantities to decompose.  Be sure to keep it away from vegetable gardens.

Car Washing

Car WashingDid you know that our sewer and storm water systems drain to different areas? Storm drains are separate from the City's sanitary sewer. Wastewater that enters the sanitary sewer system undergoes treatment prior to discharge into the environment. Polluted water that runs directly into a storm drain remains untreated.

The simple task of car washing creates urban runoff pollution. Various metals, oils, sediment and automotive fluids are washed off with the soapy water. This then travels down the gutter collecting more pollutants such as debris, pet waste and chemicals as it enters our storm water conveyance system and spills into our waterways and bays. When washing is done at home, pollution can be minimized by washing the vehicle on the lawn or over a landscaped area to absorb the liquid and limit runoff from your property. Use soaps sparingly and avoid the use of degreasers. Help limit the runoff from washing your car by using a rag and bucket and a control nozzle on the hose to rinse the car.

Most soaps contain phosphates and chemicals that are harmful to fish and other aquatic life. The phosphates in the soap can cause excess algae to grow. Algae look bad, smell bad, and harm water quality. As algae decays the process uses up oxygen in the water that fish and other aquatic life need to survive.

Use the following tips for washing your car and these will help reduce the pollution in our waterways:

  • Use soap sparingly.
  • Use a hose nozzle with a trigger to save water.
  • Pour your bucket of left over soapy water down the sink and not into the storm drain.  This way the soapy water goes into the sewer system for treatment.
  • Avoid using engine and wheel cleaners or degreasers.
  • Wash your car over a pervious surface such as the lawn or gravel not in your driveway.
  • Take your car to a commercial car wash whenever possible.

Household Waste

Household WasteWhen it rains or when water flows over pavement (driveways), this produces urban runoff, which picks up pollutants such as litter, fertilizers, pesticides, automobile brake dust, oil drippings, water from washing your car and pet waste.

These pollutants are all swept down into the storm water drains and out into our recreational waterways, creeks, lagoons and ultimately the ocean untreated. Many people think the storm water conveyance system and the sewer system are connected. They are not both are separate systems. Sewer water is treated before being released. Water that goes into the storm drain goes untreated directly into our rivers, creeks, bays and ocean.

To help reduce the pollution going into the stormwater drains there are several things we can all do to prevent further buildup of pollution.

  • Use non-hazardous household cleaning products as often as practicable.
  • Use water based paints and rinse brushes in the sink.  For oil based paints, filter and reuse thinner where possible.  Dispose of thinner through the household toxic waste program.  (see below)
  • Keep your trash cans clean.  Keep the trash cans closed to prevent spillage.
  • Regularly sweep patios, driveways and pathways instead of hosing.
  • Clean up and properly dispose of gardening chemical, fertilizer or soil spills.
  • Cover stockpiles of soil, compost or fertilizers with plastic tarps to prevent dispersal by wind or rain.
  • Dechlorinate swimming pool water to less than one part per million before discharging to the storm drain.  This can be accomplished by not chlorinating your pool for a period of two weeks.
  • Dispose of yard waste more frequently, less grass, leaves and shrubs will wash into storm drains.
  • Dispose of pet waste by burying small amounts in the backyard, placing in sealed plastic bag and disposing in trash or placing into the sewer system (toilet).

For proper disposal of the following and other similar items, call 1-800-237-2583:

  • Paints
  • Pesticides
  • Batteries
  • Drain Cleaners
  • Fertilizers
  • Antifreeze
  • Pool Chemicals
  • Cleaners
  • Photo Chemicals
  • Fluorescent Bulbs
  • Glue & Adhesives
  • Gasoline


Each participating household will pay a $5 co-payment with National City paying the balance of $70 per household collection.

Thank you for making a conscientious effort in keeping our City watersheds pollutant-free.

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