September 2011 home page

  Seeking Squeaky Clean
Mikhail Ogawa, Del Mar Clean Water Manager


What is the Clean Water Program?

The Clean Water Program is both a requirement and pro-active approach to limiting pollutants in our lagoons and Pacific Ocean. The program is a requirement of Federal and State laws that address municipal, construction, business and residential activities.

Our program has several core activities centered on preventing pollutants from entering the storm drains. While it may seem harmless to hose down a driveway or the sidewalk, that water can pick up pollutants along the way and dump them onto our beaches or into our lagoons. That water can also promote bacteria growth in our pipes that discharges when it rains.

In order to check up on our community and to make sure folks are protective of our environment, our program focuses on:

1) inspections & education;

2) water quality monitoring to identify potential issues, and;

3) reducing adverse impacts from development projects.

In addition to Del Mar’s activities, we partner with neighboring jurisdictions to address issues that have watershed-wide impacts. This is particularly important to Del Mar as we are the “end of the line” for rainfall that originates 50 miles to the east. Upstream pollutants eventually make their way to San Dieguito and Los Peñasquitos lagoons and beaches.

Our program is funded by a fee that is associated with your water bill. We are managing the program in a manner that maximizes our accomplishments. We are continuing to look for ways in which we can accomplish more pollution prevention with our funds. If you have any ideas – please contact the program at cleanwater@delmar.ca.us


Del Mar has been successfully fulfilling the responsibilities of the program requirements for the past 10 years, and evidence of our success comes in many forms, both internally and externally. We are seeing better understanding of the Clean Water issues from our community. Folks know the message we are conveying and are putting it to practice. We are also receiving calls from the community to inquire about the “right way” to clean their businesses or wash their vehicles. From the external perspective, we are continuing to receive a consistent A or A+ rating from the Heal the Bay Beach Report Card (www.healthebay.org). We recently received a letter from Coastkeeper commending us on the thoroughness of the commercial and industrial aspect of our program.

Because we don’t want to rest on our laurels of success, the City continues to focus on activities that can make measurable differences in our water quality. We are initiating a field approach that puts our staff out and about to identify issues and then help to resolve the problems. This includes more proactive field time and monitoring. So if you see our staff, give us a wave hello – we are helping to keep our waters clean.



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