Storm Water Pollution A Threat to Ocean Health Gina Scachetti, B.S. Biological Sciences Torrance Fire Department, NPDES Inspector
Storm Water Pollution • Keeping our oceans clean for future generations • http://www.shiftingbaselines.org/videos/home_surfrider.htm
What is the Water Cycle? The Water Cycle is the continuous movement of water on, above, or below the ground and in different phases (solid as ice, liquid, and gas). The Water Cycle is a true cycle- there is no beginning or end.
What is a Watershed? • A watershed is an area of land that catches rain and snow. This rain and snow drains into a common waterway (marsh, stream, river, lake, groundwater, or ocean). • Homes, farms, ranches, forests, small towns, big cities, and more can make up a watershed.
Parts of a Watershed • When rain or snow falls, it is collected at the beginning of streams and rivers called headwaters. These headwaters are usually found in mountains and/or hills. • From the headwaters, water flows down mountains, through valleys, and empties into coastal waters. • As water flows from the mountains to the sea, water passes through areas of farming, housing, businesses, recreation, and conservation. • Water picks up pollutants as it passes through these areas.
Do We Live in a Watershed? YES! The Los Angeles Region is divided into 4 watersheds: the Los Angeles River Watershed, the Santa Monica Bay (Upper and Lower) Watershed, the Ballona Creek Watershed, and the Dominguez Channel Watershed.
Santa Monica Bay Watershed: Includes Ballona Wetlands, Malaga Cove, Redondo Beach, Torrance Beach, Venice Beach and more… Dominguez Channel Watershed: Includes Dominguez Channel, Long Beach Harbor, LA Harbor, Cabrillo Beach, and more… Torrance is Located in 2 Watersheds
Why is This Important? EVERYTHING THAT WE DO IMPACTS THE QUALITY OF WATER IN OUR WATERSHED AND OUR COAST! http://www.thinkbluesd.org/
What is Storm Water Pollution? Stormwater Pollution occurs when rain or snow flows over the ground and picks up debris, chemicals, dirt, and other types of pollutants. This polluted rain or snow can then enter storm drains and flow directly into a stream, river, lake, wetland, or ocean.
What is Non-Storm Water Pollution? Any water that is not rain water or snow melt. Such as: Garden hoses Car washing, and Other activities that pick up pollutants from streets, parking lots, driveways, and yards and carries them through the storm drain system and straight to the ocean http://www.thinkbluesd.com/
Types of Pollutants What is a pollutant and what types of pollutants are found in my community and local beach?
What is a Pollutant? • A pollutant is any substance introduced into the environment that adversely affects the usefulness of resources or the health of humans, animals, or ecosystems.
What Types of Pollutants are Found in My Community and Local Beaches? • Marine Debris: plastics, glass, metals, wood • Sediments: from construction sites, fields, unvegetated areas • Excess Nutrients: fertilizers, animal waste (i.e. like your dog),sewage, yard waste (leaves and grass clippings) • Chemicals: pesticides, detergents (soap), oil and grease, metals, acids • Pathogens: bacteria and viruses
Sediment can cloud water and make it difficult for plants to grow and fish to lay eggs.
Excess nutrients can cause algal blooms that can kill aquatic plants, fish, and other aquatic animals
Solvents, pesticides, paint, oil, and other chemicals can cause fish to become toxic. People can become sick from eating these toxic fish.
Bacteria and viruses can create health hazards resulting in beach closures.
Sources of Pollutants Where do these pollutants come from?
What is Point Source Pollution? • Point Source Pollution: Pollution that comes out of a pipe From a business or a home as wastewater or sewage Anything that goes down a sewer drain (sink, toilet, floor drain), travels through pipes to a wastewater treatment plant, and is discharged from a pipe into a stream, river, lake, or ocean
Point Source Pollution • At My Home: Every time I wash my hands, brush my teeth, do the dishes, take a bath, go to the bathroom, etc. I am polluting the water. But, this water travels from my home through pipes to a sewage treatment plant. At the plant the water is treated and almost all of the pollutants are taken out. Then the water goes from the sewage plant through another pipe and is dumped in the ocean.
What is Non-Point Source Pollution (NPS)? • Non-Point Source Pollution: Many sources of pollution from all over the community Anything on the ground at businesses, homes,or roads that gets washed off during rain Largest source of stormwater pollution
Restaurants should… • Dump their mop water in a sink or toilet • Keep dumpster areas clean by sweeping • Wash their floor mats inside the restaurant
Auto Repair Shops, Dealerships, and Gas Stations Should… • Use drip pans to catch spills • Recycle all oil, coolant, etc. • Store all liquids on secondary containment or undercover
Car Washing • Wash the car on a grassed area rather than on the street or driveway. • This way all the soap and dirt will not run into the storm drain. • OR Take your car to a car wash
Automotive • If changing fluids (like oil), take the waste oil to a local hazardous waste drop off center. Do not pour the oil down a storm drain. • Keep your car in good condition. If your car is leaking place a drip pan underneath the leak and clean the spilled oil with kitty litter. • Take old car batteries to the local hazardous waste drop off center.
Use a broom or rake to clean up lawn clippings and leaves (Do not hose them into the street). Recycle lawn clippings and leaves- use as compost or mulch Use pesticides and fertilizers sparingly and as directed. Do not use them before a rain. Do not over water your lawn. Try a soaker hose instead of sprinklers. Lawn and Garden Care
Trash • Throw all trash that can’t be recycled in a trash can or bin. • Whenever possible, turn trash into useful products and buy recycled products.
Paint • Paint Brushes: Rinse water-based paints in a sink and clean oil-based paints with paint thinner. Or rinse in the garden or lawn • Take the used thinner to a local hazardous waste collection. • Do not wash brushes in the street.
Pet Waste • Pick up your pet’s droppings. Droppings left on the street can get washed into the ocean. Pet waste has harmful bacteria and provides excess nutrients to waterways. • Wash your pets in a sink, tub, or on the grass.
Household Cleaning Products • Household cleaning products, like cleaners, insect spray, and weed killers, can be toxic if washed into the coast. • Try to buy non-toxic chemicals and clean up spills with absorbent. Dispose of at a local hazardous waste collection center.
Swimming Pools and Spas • When draining swimming pools, make sure water drains to the sewer system because chlorine is harmful to the aquatic environment. • Or check with the city for guidelines on the disposal of pool water to the storm drain system.
The Law • Clean Water Act of 1972-Objective is “to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s Water”; may not discharge pollutants to the “waters of the United States” • National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)-Requires industries, municipalities, and construction permits for discharges to the storm drain system. • Coastal Zone Reauthorization Amendments of 1990-Requires states to put together non-point source pollution control programs.
Don’t Trash Our Future • http://www.thinkbluesd.com/
Know Your Coast! • Do you know what habitats we have along the southern California coast and what kinds of animals live in those waters? • By knowing the habitats and the animals, you understand how we are destroying their homes. • Also, you see that it is very important for us to watch what we do so that we do not further injure the environment.
Local Habitat and Animal Hotspots • Ballona Lagoon Marine Preserve www.blmp.org • Madrona Marsh www.tprd.com/marsh.htm • Abalone Cove Shoreline Park www.palosverdes.com/rpv/recreationparks/AbaloneCoveShoreline/index.cfm • Bolsa Chica Wetlands www.bolsachica.org • Upper Newport Bay www.newportbay.org ; www.coastal.ca.gov/publiced/restore.html • San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary www.seaandsageaudubon.org • Corona Del Mar (tide pools)
GET INVOLVED!!!! • One of the best ways to learn and to help is by getting involved by volunteering at local environmental organizations.
Local Organizations • These are some of my favorites. • Aquarium of the Pacific www.aquariumofthepacific.org • Surfrider Foundation South Bay Chapter www.surfrider-southbay.org • SEA Lab www.lacorps.org/index_SEALAB2.html • Heal the Bay www.healthebay.org • California Coastal Commission www.coastforyou.org • Ocean Institute www.ocean-institute.org • Camp SEA Lab www.sealabmontereybay.org