Polluted runoff is the single biggest source of pollution to California’s coastal waters. When it rains, storm water runs over dirty streets, rooftops, parking lots and lawns, carrying with it a toxic cocktail of pollutants, including disease-causing pathogens, gasoline and lubricants, pesticides, fertilizers, trash, sediment and heavy metals. Even during dry weather, activities like lawn watering and car washing send polluted water down storm drains. This runoff does not undergo treatment like sewage does, but flows untreated directly to our creeks and ocean, threatening wildlife and making swimming, surfing and other water contact recreation unsafe.
Santa Barbara Channelkeeper works to address polluted runoff from numerous sources, including municipal storm sewer systems, industrial facilities, construction sites, irrigated agriculture, and individual households and businesses.
Channelkeeper’s advocacy was instrumental in shaping the Storm Water Management Programs that each municipality in the greater Santa Barbara area is now implementing, pursuant to the statewide permit for small municipal storm sewer systems, to reduce stormwater pollution in their jurisdictions.
Channelkeeper conducts monitoring of industrial facilities and large construction sites during rain events to monitor compliance with the state’s industrial and construction stormwater permits. If we discover violations of permit requirements, we document them by collecting and analyzing water samples and taking photographs and video, report them to appropriate government agencies, and follow up to ensure the violations are addressed.
On occasion, if these efforts fail to remedy the problem, we use available legal tools such as the citizen suit provision of the Clean Water Act to compel compliance with the law. We’ve successfully used legal enforcement to compel the clean-up of polluted runoff from the South Coast Transfer and Recycling Station, Ojai Quarry, Halaco Engineering Co.’s scrap metal recycling facility, and Santa Barbara Polo Club.
Channelkeeper also educates the wider community about what individuals can do to reduce their contribution to runoff pollution. We’re all part of the solution to pollution!
Please fill out the short form below to report any problems you think we should investigate.