Water Quality

Do you know where the water in the storm drains goes? To our creeks, lakes, and the ocean. Even if you live miles from the ocean or a stream, you may be polluting without knowing.

The City’s storm drain system is unlike the sewer system. The sewer system carries water from your indoor drains to wastewater treatment plants. The storm drain system releases untreated water collected from rainfall and other sources into the local streams, lakes, and ultimately the ocean. 
 
In order to prevent pollution, everyone’s help is needed. The City has collaborated with other Orange County cities and the County of Orange to develop Best Management Practices (BMPs) summarized in fact sheets. The BMP fact sheets are organized by the type of activities being conducted and are enforceable requirements. Links to the required BMPs in Lake Forest are provided below:
Additional information can be found at www.ocwatersheds.com
 
Construction Activity

The Construction Runoff Guidance Manual was collaboratively developed by the Orange County municipalities, the County of Orange, and the Orange County Flood Control District for the Orange County Stormwater Program. This guide provides important information regarding compliance with local and State stormwater runoff requirements.
 
The County of Orange is the primary coordinator for the county-wide stormwater program. Comprehensive information is available on the County's website, including the County's Drainage Area Management Plan, NPDES permits, spill and storm drain problem reporting. For more information, visit www.ocwatersheds.com.
 
Common Storm Drain Pollutants
 
Home Maintenance

  • Cleaners and Solvents
  • Detergents
  • Fertilizers
  • Oil and Latex Paints
  • Pesticides
  • Swimming Pool Chemicals
Outdoor Trash & Litter
  • Clippings, Leaves and Soil Fertilizer
  • Lawn and Garden
  • Pesticides, Insecticides and Herbicides
  • Pet and Animal Waste
Automobile
  • Brake Pad Dust
  • Cleaning Compounds
  • Oil and Grease
  • Radiator Fluids and Antifreeze
Help Protect the Water that gets into our Storm Drains!
 
Household

Buy products labeled "non-toxic" whenever possible. Clean up spills with an absorbent material such as kitty litter and check with the City waste disposal carrier, CR&R, for disposal recommendations.

Paint & Solvents
Clean water-based paint equipment in sinks that are connected to the plumbing and sewer system. Use paint thinner to clean oil-based paint equipment, then properly dispose of all materials at a Household Hazardous Waste Center, or consider keeping them for touch-ups and future clean up, or give them to a friend. Orange County Hazardous Waste Center locations.
 
Automotive
Keep your cars in good repair and check for possible leaks. Clean up spills with an absorbent material such as kitty litter. Visit any Orange County Landfills for disposal locations. 
 
Swimming Pool & Spa
The preferred method to dispose pool water is directly to the sanitary sewer. Many pools are plumbed to facilitate this to occur. Any pipe connection to the sanitary sewer is to be approved by the City Water District.

Where discharge to the sanitary sewer is not feasible, federal law allows the release of dechlorinated swimming pool water into the street or the storm drain system. Any curb core or connection to the storm drain system is to be approved by the City. In Orange County, the guidance for such releases requires that the owner demonstrate compliance with the following criteria.
  • The residual chlorine does not exceed 0.1 milligrams per liter (mg/l), or 0.1 parts per million.
  • The pH is between 6.5 and 8.5.
  • The water is visually free of any unusual coloration, filter media, and acid cleaning waste.
Compliance can be verified by using a pool testing kit. Excessive chlorine can be removed by removing, or not chlorinating two or more days prior to discharge, or by adding appropriate dechlorinating chemicals.

Lawn & Garden
Using a broom and rake, pick-up yard debris and place in trash bins; lawn clippings and leaves should be placed in recycling containers. When using pesticides or fertilizers, follow directions carefully, do not over water after application, and do not apply before a rain. For more information on how to reduce runoff from irrigation systems, including tips, rebates, and events, visit www.overwateringisout.org.  
 
Trash
Place trash and litter that cannot be recycled or reused in trash bins and always keep trash bin lids closed.

Pet Care
Pick-up waste as soon as possible and place in trash bins. Follow the label directions for disposal on pet care products, some of which can be toxic.

It’s Up To You!
Together, you and your neighbors can make a difference by keeping gutters and storm drains clean.