What is the City Doing?

What is the City Doing to Address Water Quality Pollution?

The Public Works Department administers the Stormwater Management Program to reduce the discharge of pollutants to the storm sewer systems and associated receiving waters as regulated by the federal Clean Water Act through the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program (Order No. R8-2009-0030).

The department implements a series of programs with the overall goal to reduce the amount of pollutants carried by stormwater runoff to our local creeks, channels, and ocean. The City believes that by diligently working to improve the quality of our environment, all residents, visitors, and wildlife will enjoy the benefits of cleaner beaches, lakes, and wetlands through improved water quality. Learn about the different programs that are implemented to manage the quality of surface waters.


Stormwater Inspections

The NPDES Permit (Order No. R8-2009-0030) requires the City to conduct periodic inspections of commercial /industrial facilities and construction projects to ensure compliance with the Permit requirements. 

Commercial/Industrial Facilities

The City conducts commercial/ industrial inspection on a routine basis. The inspections include a review of the facility’s external stormwater pollution prevention practices, housekeeping practices, hazardous material storage areas, vehicle storage areas, trash and debris handling methods, environmental documentation , and other relevant items. Facilities are prioritized based on the treat to water quality impact (high, medium, and low). High priority facilities required annual inspections, medium facilities required inspections once every two years, and low priority facilities once per permit cycle (at least once every five years).  On average, the City conducts over 350 plus commercial/industrial facility inspections per year.

Construction Projects

Stormwater runoff from construction activities can have a significant impact on water quality. As stormwater flows over a construction site (small or large), it picks up pollutants like sediment, construction debris, and chemicals such as paint and gas. The City inspects small and large construction projects on a routine basis to ensure the implementation of adequate and effective Best Management Practices (BMPs), and erosion and sediment control practices.  Construction projects are also prioritized based on the treat to water quality impact (high, medium, and low). High priority projects require inspections once every month during the rainy season (October 1 – April 30).  Medium priority projects are inspected at least twice during the rainy season and low priority projects are inspected once. In the dry season, inspections are conducted as necessary and when complaints are received from the community. On average, the City conducts over 300 plus construction project inspections per year. Learn more about pollution prevention for construction sites HERE.

Food Service Establishments

The most effective way to minimize Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG) accumulation in the sanitary sewer system and to prevent sewer overflows which contaminates our waterways, is through implementation of a FOG/stormwater inspection program. This program regulates food service establishments (FSEs) through the inspection program. FSEs that produce FOG are required to be inspected at least once or twice a year.  The inspection consist of checking kitchen areas for proper practices and disposal of FOG, inspecting outdoor areas to ensure proper outdoor practices and documentation review for proper maintenance of grease removal devices. On average, the City inspects 400 FSEs per year. Learn more about our FOG Program HERE.

New Development Water Quality Requirements

The City implements strict requirements for new development and significant redevelopment projects to treat stormwater or urban runoff, post-construction phase. Depending on the project type and size, requirement may consist of treatment of runoff of 85th percentile of storm events. The City has reviewed and approved water quality treatments for over 200 projects. Some of the treatment consists of infiltration, bio-swales, treatment units (media filters), hydromodification, and detention basins, among others. The City implements an inspection program through which it verifies installation and maintenance of structural and non-structural BMPs. Learn more about this program HERE.

Public Education and Outreach

Public education, outreach, and involvement have become significantly important to the City as we recognize the immense scope of stormwater and water quality issues. Involving and educating the public will only ensure a stronger, healthier future for stormwater systems. Every year the City distributes educational materials at several facilities and is host of several public education and outreach events where we actively engage with the public and our community. These events have included:

Stormwater Drainage Systems

The City understands the importance of inspecting and maintaining our stormwater and drainage systems. Proper maintenance of the systems is important to prevent clogging, flooding, and surface water pollution during storms. Every year the City cleans approximately 1,700 plus catch basins, 8.4 miles of channels, operates and maintains 15 pump station forebays and removes over 150 tons of debris from such systems. 

Stormwater Treatment

The City has taken a proactive approach to treat stormwater. Presently, the City has 11 Continuous Deflective Separation (CDS) hydrodynamic separators to help capture trash and debris. 8 of these are installed along the coast. These systems have helped prevent trash and other debris from entering the ocean. The City conducts operation and maintenance of these systems at least twice a year.

Sewer Diversion Systems

The City has installed 11 sewer diversion stations. These systems help treat urban runoff during the dry seasons and divert it to the sanitary sewer system for proper treatment and disposal. These diversion systems/stations were designed to divert up to a maximum of 4 MGPD.

Enforcement actions

The City has the legal authority to prohibit and control illicit discharges and implements enforcement actions to achieve compliance with stormwater laws and regulations. The City uses a variety of enforcement options to address potential and actual non-stormwater discharges observed during inspections and surveillance of illicit discharges. The City’s enforcement options include the following:

These enforcement actions are issued to facilities or individuals who cause, allow, or facilitate prohibited discharges. The enforcement action issued to the facility or individual will depend on the severity of the discharge and threat to water quality and human health.

Pollution Prevention/ Complaint Investigations

The City provides different resources and tools for HB residents to report pollution or illicit discharges. Residents can download the MYHB Application, available for iPhones and Android phones, and submit service requests directly through the app. Complaints and pollution reporting is also available online through the City’s website, residents may also call our direct line to report incidents of pollution. A 24-hour Water Pollution Problem Reporting Hotline through Orange County is also available for reporting suspected discharges. Once a complaint or pollution reports is received, the department conducts investigations within the same hour after receiving report. Learn more about how to report pollution HERE.

Did you know?

Learn "hands on" about the HBPD by participating in the Citizens Academy.  Each session is 11 weeks long and is offered twice a year.  Learn about Patrol, Traffic, Vice, SWAT, K-9, Aero and more!  Apply here.

Government Home
Boards & Commissions
Budget & Financial Information
City Council
Council Committees
Contact Us
Days & Hours of Operations
Directions to City Hall
Election Information
Frequently Called Numbers
Government Links
Master Fee & Charges Schedule
Staff Directory
Strategic Plan
Transparency HB - HB Open
Back to Top  up-arrow