Water Quality Division

Welcome to the City’s Water Quality Division webpage. The Water Quality Division is responsible for implementing programs to eliminate discharges of pollutants to the municipal storm drain system and ocean. These programs include public education, municipal code compliance/enforcement, commercial and industrial inspections and ocean water monitoring. The Water Quality Division was formed to implement the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) storm water discharge permit, which is approved and continuously updated by the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board. The permit identifies tasks necessary for reducing ocean water pollution. The Water Quality Division consists of two, full-time employees responsible for coordinating permit compliance with other City departments, the community and the County of Orange.

The beautiful artwork above was provided by local artist Joan Corman as the winning entry in the City’s Storm Drain Marker Design Competition. The markers serve to remind the public that storm drains transport runoff- including polluted runoff- to the ocean.


Cities required to regulate runoff
Cities and counties are required by federal and state laws to regulate runoff to their storm drain systems. Laguna Beach is a Co-Permittee to the County of Orange under the jurisdiction and regulation of the Region 9 San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board. The Board regulates the discharge of runoff from storm drains to the ocean through a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) discharge permit. The permit requires governmental agencies within its jurisdiction to adopt ordinances and the necessary legal authority to prevent discharges of polluted runoff. The permit order further requires local governments to implement programs that promote building design features to reduce runoff from new development. The permit also requires local government to inspect construction sites and existing developments for sources of runoff pollution, to educate the public about best practices to eliminate runoff at its source.

Your participation is necessary
Citizens and businesses must participate in our local program to keep pollution out of storm drains in order for it to be successful. Illegal discharges to the storm drain, including the gutter in the street, are subject to a citation and/or a fine. Household hazardous waste must be contained and disposed of in a responsible and legal manner. Pesticides should be used with great care and responsibilities. Runoff from over-irrigation is not only a waste of water, and also prohibited. Swimming pool, Jacuzzis or fountain drainage must be free of chemicals. Likewise, residential car washing must be free of chemicals, detergents, and vehicle fluids. By working together, we can prevent pollution in our oceans.

If you love the tidepools in Laguna, check this out.