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Turnoff Runoff
Anthony Corso | Stratford Court


One of the great balancing acts in human history is being attempted right here in Del Mar. It is the harmonious accommodation of the lifestyles and activities of local residents balanced against the preservation of our cherished environment. A serious impediment to such “harmonious accommodation” is “urban runoff”- water carrying polluting materials traversing our watersheds depositing them into our lagoons, streams and eventually-the Pacific Ocean.

Kathy Garcia, the Planning and Community Development Director, notes that two recent developments have focused attention upon the issue. First, the Environmental Protection Agency and the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board have issued new requirements for identifying and controlling potential runoffs. Secondly, jurisdictions located within the same watershed are now required to work collaboratively in development of “Water Quality Improvement Plan” identifying specific runoff conditions and providing a set of implementation strategies for ameliorating them. Most of Del Mar lies within the 341 square mile San Dieguito Watershed, which includes portions of the cities of Del Mar, Solana Beach, Escondido, Poway and parts of unincorporated San Diego County.

The Sandpiper and the City have long been aware of runoff pollution. A May 2007 Sandpiper article defined the runoff issue and reported that $3.84 a month was being added to the sewer bill to pay to defray the costs of mandated water
quality studies and enforcement activities.

The fee is reviewed annually. It may be increased to help meet the costs of conforming to new requirements

With new requirements and governmental commitment each of us has a major role to play in this “balancing act” – attending to the following directives:

• Pick-up after pet wastes so that they are not carried in our watershed and contribute bacteria which are eventually washed into the ocean.
• Reduce the use of pesticides and fertilizers as much as possible; they can have a lethal impact upon marine life.
• Monitor any construction on or off your property to prohibit dirt and sediment from washing into the storm drain system.
• Keep trash and debris out of the storm drain system. Sweep it up and recycle when possible.
• Monitor irrigation systems to minimize runoff that carries pollutants to the beach.
• Fix any leak from your vehicle; do not allow seepage to fall on the roads. Recycle used motor oil at a Hazardous Waste Collection Center.
• Wash your car at a commercial car wash, where the wash water is collected and treated at a treatment plant.
• Report observed instances of urban runoff to the City Public Works Department (858) 755-3294.



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