Home - Government - Utilities Department - Water Quality & Environmental Compliance Division
Storm Water Pollution


Southern California's dry summers create hard soils that typically cannot absorb the first rains of the season.
To keep pollutants out of our storm drain system, the following practices are recommended to minimize pollutants from
running into the streets and gutters. Also included are tips to help you prepare for the effects of inclement weather.


CLICK HERE to view the Guidelines for Conditionally Exempt Non-Stormwater Discharges

1. Minimize the use of toxic
chemicals (HHW) and clean up
spills quickly.

CLICK HERE for schedule information related to disposal of household hazardous waste (HHW), or call (888) CLEAN-LA. Common HHW that can get into the storm drains include detergents & cleansers; swimming pool chemicals; construction materials; paint/solvents; automobile oil & grease, radiator fluids & antifreeze; pesticides, insecticides & herbicides, lawn clippings, soil, fertilizer.

2. Apply pesticides and fertilizers sparingly.

Pesticides contain products that promote algae growth in local waterways. Abundant algae growth suffocates aquatic life. Use nontoxic alternatives for pest control. If you must use chemicals, apply sparingly and do not apply when rain is forecast. Take unwanted leftovers to a HHW collection event. Never dispose of such products in the trash.

3. Pick up animal waste and dispose of it in your black trash container.

Seal animal waste in a bag and dispose of it in your BLACK trash container. Animal waste contains harmful bacteria and organisms that can spread serious diseases if allowed to reach the storm drain system.

4. Take unwanted paint to a HHW collection event. Never hose down
spills, equipment or dirt to the street.

Properly clean up after using oil-based paints and take any leftovers to a HHW collection center. When using latex water-based paints, you can wash brushes directly in the kitchen or bathroom sink.

5. Recycle grass clippings by composting them.

Leave grass clippings on the lawn where they will quickly decompose, returning nutrients to the soil and preventing yard waste from getting into the storm drain. Grass-cycling makes caring for your lawn easier and will not cause thatch. It can reduce mowing time and save you money by reducing the need for fertilizer. It also saves valuable landfill space.

6. Inspect rain gutters attached to your home or apartment and
remove build-up of leaves or debris.

Remove build-up of leaves and debris from rain gutters and roof so will rain water will flow and drain properly (preventing a possible roof collapse). Have a qualified person check the roof for possible leaks, and have them repaired before the rain arrives.

7. Regularly inspect outdoor sump pumps. Clogged pumps can lead to water buildup in your yard, which 
can result in flooding.

Remove all debris from the area around the drain and pump, and run-test it for brief periods at regular intervals. This is especially important for parking areas or yards that are below grade level.

8. Properly dispose of litter,
trash and yard waste in
your BLACK YARD WASTE container.

Leaves, trash and other debris that finds its way into the storm drain flows from the flood control channel into the ocean. Along this journey, the potential for clogged gutters and resulting flooding is high, not to mention the unnecessary pollution of ocean waters.

9. Call the City IMMEDIATELY if you see someone dumping HAZARDOUS WASTE into a storm drain or find hazardous substances (such as oil and chemicals) that have been dumped on the ground or into a storm drain

To report hazardous waste dumping:

  • Call 626-570-5067 during regular business hours.
  • After normal business hours or on a weekend, contact the Alhambra Police Department at 626-570-5168.

The Alhambra Business Inspection Program to Eliminate Discharge Pollutants -
To minimize the hazards of storm drain pollution, the Utilities Department inspects industrial plants, auto body shops, gas stations, restaurants and other businesses to eliminate non-stormwater discharges and to ensure that the best management practices are being implemented to decrease the potential for pollutants entering the City's storm drain system. Inspectors will be checking for potential exposure to discharge pollutants at loading/unloading areas, raw/final material and equipment storage, outside manufacturing processes, waste disposal areas, and will review cleaning practices. Where appropriate, inspectors will observe drains, pipes, and drainage areas to observe any evidence of spills



1. Check wiring around your home
to ensure it is not tangled in tree
limbs, and that it is not laying directly on any part of your roof or other structure or drooping excessively.

Any power lines lying low enough to touch should never be handled or stepped on. Immediately notify a qualified person from the utility company and/or the Alhambra Fire Department to inspect the wiring and alleviate the hazard.

2. Plant adequate, low-level ground cover to help prevent mud slides
from bare-soiled areas if you live adjacent to a slope or hill.

Check the hillside and other yard areas for leaning trees or those with broken branches. These should be removed and/or braced to withstand wind and rain conditions. Pick up sand bags and have them ready. Sand can be purchased at a hardware store, such as Home Depot, or a landscaping & gardening store. The Alhambra Fire Department offers a limited number of sandbags available to residents at no charge. Locations are: 301 North First Street; 2200 W. Main St.; 1215 S. Sixth St.; 2505 West Norwood Place.

3. Charge flashlights with fresh batteries.

It is essential during power outages to have flashlights on hand. Candles should NOT be used as a substitute for lighting, and should not be left burning when residents go to sleep or leave the house. Carrying lit candles, while walking, can pose both burn and fire hazards.

4. Store extra supplies of
non-perishable food items
and water.

Store extra supplies of non-perishable food items and water for those times when you can't get to the store. Leaving home during a storm may be dangerous and hazardous. A supply of food and water will insure adequate supplies until the emergency has passed.

5. Buy a Good Umbrella
and Rain Gear.

Have rainy weather clothing and umbrellas for the entire family to help keep everyone dry and ward off colds and flu.

6. Know Who to Call.

When there is a serious problem, and immediate help is needed, it helps to have a list of appropriate emergency numbers handy. Why not post this list by your phone?

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