Clean LA

Primary Stormwater Pollutants

The pollutants listed below are deadly to animals and plants, contribute harmful bacteria to neighborhoods and create public health risks at beaches.
  • Animal waste: Contributes harmful bacteria to neighborhoods, public health risk
  • Cigarette butts: Add 900,000 to a million pieces of trash each month
  • Trash: Plastics kill wildlife, unsightly
  • Motor oil: One gallon pollutes a million gallons of water
  • Pesticides: Upset natural balance and kill favorable organisms
  • Fertilizers: Upset natural balance, favors algae over natural vegetation
Pollution Causing Behaviors
Residents contribute to stormwater pollution each day by:
  • Dropping litter on the ground or out a car window
  • Walking a dog without picking up the droppings
  • Allowing paper or trash to blow into the street
  • Changing oil and placing it in the gutter or trash can
  • Dropping a cigarette butt on the ground
  • Hosing leaves or dirt off driveway or sidewalk into the street
  • Emptying a car ashtray into the street
  • Watering the lawn or garden and letting the water run into the street
  • Washing off paint brushes under an outdoor faucet
  • Throwing something in the gutter
  • Spraying the garden or lawn with pesticide and allowing it to wash off
  • Washing their cars in a location that allows the wash water to run onto the pavement and into a gutter

  • Average yearly rainfall in the County of Los Angeles is 15 inches.
  • January, February and March are the County’s rainiest months.
  • The month of October typically marks the beginning of the rainy season.

Storm Drains
  • Southern California has 5,000 miles of storm drain network.
  • Storm drains were designed to capture rainwater to avoid area flooding. Storm drains capture urban runoff water when residents over water their lawns and gardens, wash their cars in their driveways or hose anything on pavement. The water flows directly to the ocean – untreated.
  • Stormwater is not treated or filtered before it enters the ocean.
  • Storm drains dump into either Ballona Creek or the Los Angeles River, both are primary habitats for many of Los Angeles’ species of birds, animals and plants.
  • The County maintains two trash nets, located at Ballona Creek and the Los Angeles River, that capture tons of litter before it flows into the ocean, yet this is just a small part of the amount that flows to beaches every year.

Comparison Facts
  • Trash nets in Ballona Creek and the Los Angeles River capture 200 tons of litter each year.
  • The Los Angeles flood channel has enough trash to fill the Rose Bowl field two stories deep.
  • County residents dispose of enough tons of waste to fill Dodger Stadium every two weeks.