Storm Water & NPDES

Many residents are not aware that Seal Beach has two drainage systems - the sewers and the storm drains. Sewers carry waste to a sewage treatment plant where the water is cleaned and then reused or deposited into the ocean away from beaches. The storm drain system was designed to solely prevent flooding of City streets by carrying excess rainwater out to the ocean. If pollutants are dumped into the drainage system, they are carried to the ocean.

Much of Seal Beach's run-off drains into the Naval Weapons Base with the remainder split between the Pacific Ocean, Coyote Creek, and the San Gabriel River. The City of Seal Beach would like to remind you not to trash where you splash. During rain events, trash and debris in City streets flows directly to the ocean. Please keep our waterways and oceans clean. For more information, visit the County's website on storm water pollution prevention,

To help preserve the quality of life for our residents, beachgoers, and sea life, the City of Seal Beach has implemented a number of programs to help reduce the amount of pollutants mixing with storm and urban runoff. By implementing these programs, we hope to not only clean up our water, but preserve aquatic life for years to come. Below is a list of some of the City's programs:

  • A Storm Water Pollution Prevention Ordinance is in place.
  • All residential and commercial streets, including City-owned and/or operated parking lots, are included in regularly scheduled street sweeping.
  • Approximately 143 businesses are inspected on an annual basis to ensure they do not contribute to pollution of the ocean.
  • If you see a catch basin that is full, please don't hesitate to call us at (562) 431-2527 x1414.
  • City employees routinely attend training to ensure awareness and use of best practices on construction and maintenance projects.
  • We have implemented an active public outreach and education program.
  • We are now requiring Water Quality Management Plans (WQMP) for all projects. WQMP Guidelines can be viewed here.


As a resident or business owner in Seal Beach there are some simple steps you can take to help prevent storm water pollution:

  • Vehicle Maintenance: Keep your vehicles in good running order and perform routine maintenance to prevent leaks from oil and other car fluids. Leaks from vehicles often times are a primary source of pollution in run-off.
  • Spills:  If you experience or encounter a spill, don't hose it into the gutter or storm drains. The best thing to do is clean it up with absorbent materials such as kitty litter. Then simply dispose of the absorbent materials in the trash.
  • Car Washing:  Take your vehicle to a car wash instead of washing at home. If you choose to wash at home, divert the wash water onto your lawn or garden and use a biodegradable, phosphate-free detergent. Using a bucket (not a running hose) to wash and rinse your car conserves water.
  • Recycle Used Oil:  Oil doesn't wear out and can be recycled to use again in engines and other motors, but also has other uses as well. Search here for a used oil recycling center.
  • Household Hazardous Waste:  Please dispose of hydraulic, transmission, and radiator fluids at a Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Facility. For information on what household waste can be picked up curbside click here. Never clean paintbrushes or rinse paint containers into a street, gutter, or storm drain.
  • Yard Maintenance:
    • Leaves:  Don't blow or rake leaves into streets, gutters, or storm drains.
    • Fertilizers:  Use organic or non-toxic fertilizers. Don't over fertilize and don't fertilize near ditches, streams, or other bodies of water.
    • Pesticides:  Use non-toxic pesticide alternatives whenever possible. Organic pesticides are a good option.
  • Pet Waste:  Pick up after your pets. All of them.
  • Pool Maintenance:  Make sure your pool is algae free and dechlorinated before pumping to the street. Do not drain salt water pools to the street.