Water Quality Tips for Businesses

What is a Watershed?

A watershed is a basin-like landform that collects water whenever it rains or snows. Through gravity, water is channeled into soils, groundwater, creeks, streams, lakes and eventually drains into larger bodies of water such as the rivers and eventually the ocean.

The important thing to remember is that we all live in a watershed and whatever we do to the land affects water quality of the all communities living downstream. Water is a universal solvent and is affected by the land it travels across and the soil that it travels through.

The City of Irvine happens to be in the Newport Bay Watershed, which includes the San Diego Creek (a flood control channel). San Diego Creek is the main tributary that drains into Upper Newport Bay. Smaller tributaries include Serrano Creek, Borrego Canyon Wash, Agua Chinon Wash, Bee Canyon Wash, Peters Canyon Wash, Sand Canyon Wash, Bonita Canyon Creek and the Santa Ana Delhi Channel.

Click here to learn more about Stormwater Pollution

Surf Your Watershed

The Surf Your Watershed section of the EPA website allows you to find information and resources -such as environmental groups involved with the watershed, impaired waterways, data relaying pollution levels, etc.

What can my business do to prevent stormwater pollution?

One of the most common types of pollution from businesses is contaminated water runoff, usually from cleaning and maintenance activities. Simple Best Management Practices (BMPs) can prevent stormwater pollution, and it’s good business practice to show your clients and customers your concern for your local community and the environment.

Educational Materials

Review the list of materials below for more information on how your business can prevent Stormwater pollution. View a list of additional brochures.

Automotive Industry

Automotive fluids such as oil, grease and anti-freeze along with other harmful materials-like asbestos worn from brake linings and zinc from tires-significantly degrade water quality when they make it into waterways. Along with being an issue for public safety, these materials are detrimental to marine life.

View a stormwater pollution prevention brochure for the automotive industry.

Commercial Landscape Maintenance

When it rains, any yard waste, fertilizer or chemicals such as pesticides used in landscape maintenance that are swept into the stormdrain system can lead to waterways like the ocean. Grass clippings and other plant waste can clog the stormdrain system, while lawn and garden chemicals can have adverse affects on marine life and water quality. Click here for stormwater pollution prevention brochures for landscaping.

Food Service Industry

Food waste, grease, cleaning fluids, mop water and trash from restaurant operations often make their way into the stormdrain system and do not get treated before flowing into local waterways. View stormwater pollution prevention brochures for the food industry.

General Industrial and Manufacturing Businesses

If you own, manage or help operate a business, especially an industrial or manufacturing company, you can help reduce stormwater pollution. From environmentally friendly cleaning and maintenance activities, to recycling hazardous waste materials, businesses can do their part to prevent stormwater pollution. View stormwater pollution prevention brochures for general industrial and manufacturing businesses.

Mobile Businesses

Mobile businesses are integral to our community and like other businesses need to properly dispose of their waste products. View the stormwater pollution prevention brochure related to mobile businesses.

Mobile Vehicle Maintenance

In the cleaning and maintenance of vehicles, many products used, along with the wastewater produced, are toxic and must be disposed of properly. 

For more documents related to Best Management Practices, visit the Stormwater section of the Orange County Watersheds Program.

Pollution Reporting and Additional Resources

♦ Water Pollution Complaint Hotline

In Irvine: 

To report a malfunctioning sprinkler or other errant irrigation issues: 949-724-7600

In the County of Orange:

To report illegal dumping of toxic waste, toxic waste spills, or clogged catch basins:
877-89-SPILL or 877-897-7455

♦ County of Orange, OC Watersheds

Orange County Stormwater Program

877-89-SPILL or 877-897-7455 or visit www.ocwatersheds.com

♦ Orange County Stormwater Program

24 Hour Water Pollution Reporting Hotline

877-89-SPILL or 877-897-7455

♦ Orange County Health Care Agency Environmental Health

714-433-6419 or visit www.ochealthinfo.com

♦ Regional Water Quality Control Board

Santa Ana Region

951-782-4130 or visit www.waterboards.ca.gov

♦ California Office of Emergency Services

800-852-7550 or visit www.caloes.ca.gov