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      Department of Public Works Bureau of Sanitation
Storm water pollution creates a myriad of potential problems for neighborhoods.

Throughout the world, ocean pollution has become as massive a problem as air pollution—possibly even greater. Huge areas in the Gulf of Mexico have literally become "dead zones" which are areas completely devoid of marine life, due to contaminated urban runoff.

On a neighborhood level, storm drain pollution can create unhealthy conditions for residents such as the risk of disease, foul odors, not to mention unsightly neighborhoods.

But the solution is so easy! By following the simple steps below, you can greatly reduce the amount of harmful pollutants that may be entering our waterways. For specific Good Housekeeping Practices, you can find additional BMPs here.

For additional information including tips for businesses, click here.

Use Environmentally Safe Products

Many pesticides have safe, chemically-free organic alternatives. By using non-toxic methods, you reduce the amount of dangerous chemicals that flows off of lawns and into storm drains. For more information on safe Landscaping, Gardening and Pest Control tips, click here.

Lawn and garden products may contain harmful chemicals if disposed of improperly. To safely dispose of leftover chemicals, herbicides and pesticides, please visit a Los Angeles S.A.F.E. collection center.

Recycle Your Used Motor Oil and Filters

Used motor oil is extremely toxic to the environment if disposed improperly and there are literally hundreds of collection centers located throughout the city. For a current listing of one nearest you, click here.

For other used oil information, refer to the Stormwater Program’s Used Oil Recycling page.

Compost Yard Trimmings

Dispose of yard clippings and waste in a compost bin or in your City issued green container. You can also log on to the City’s Smart-Gardening web site for more information.

Report Illegal Dumping

Illegal dumping of trash, paint products, motor oil and other chemicals into storm drains is against the law!

Call (800) 974-9794 to report incidents of illegal dumping.

Pick up After Your Pets

Animal waste that runs off of lawns and sidewalks sends harmful bacteria into the storm drain system and out into the ocean, creating problems for swimmers and fish.

For more information on helping your pet and the environment, click here or, download the free guide ‘What’s the Scoop!’

Dispose of Trash Properly

Separate items into plastics, glass and paper products, and discard only what is non-recyclable. For information on the City’s Curbside Recycling Program, call (800) 773-2489 or click here

Use Water Based Paints.

Oil based paints are extremely toxic and much more problematic in disposing of than water based paint. Oil based paints are also not allowed to be disposed of in the City’s sewer system and dumping it into storm drains is ILLEGAL.

Water based paints cover the same area just as well as oil based, and it is strongly encouraged that you buy the water based brand.

Recycle Everything You Can!

Landfill space (where all our trash goes) is rapidly filling up and we can greatly reduce the need for having to find precious, open land for additional capacity. Open land can be better suited for parks or natural habitat for wildlife and much of what we throw away can easily be reycled!

FACT: It is estimated that, of the 40 tons of trash that washes onto our beaches every year, over 80% of it could’ve been recycled!

Take Your Residential Special Materials to a City of Los Angeles S.A.F.E. Center

Residential Special Materials are typical household products that should not be disposed of by merely throwing in the trash. These items include unused or leftover paint, pesticides, cleaners and other chemicals. There are several permanent locations throughout the City of Los Angeles where residents can take these items where they can be safely disposed of.

Don’t Litter!

Simple enough? Everything dropped, tossed, spilled or discarded onto streets and gutters will eventually make its way into the storm drain system–and out to the ocean!

FACT: Every year, at least 800,000 cigarette butts are picked up from our beaches by Coastal Cleanup Volunteers.

Wash Your Car On the Lawn

Most detergents and other car washing ingredients contain chemicals that when washed into the street and enters the storm drain system, can harm sea life once it reaches the ocean. Also, the water runs over pavement or streets and washes chemicals, oil and other pollutants into the storm drains.

Consider using an environmentally-friendly soap or take your car to a commercial car wash that recycles its water. For more environmental tips on washing your car, click here.

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