Stormwater program

The City of Santa Ana is committed to protecting our waterways and ocean.

people picking up trash on a beach
We need your help to keep our waterways and oceans clean!


The Santa Ana Stormwater Program was established to comply with the requirements of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permit. The NPDES Permit is issued by the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board and requires the City to implement various inspection programs, participate in public education and outreach activities, maintain the City’s storm drain system, clean up pollutant spills, and enforce the City’s Water Quality Ordinance.


The goal of the NPDES Permit is to reduce pollutants discharged in urban runoff and to protect water quality standards in receiving waters. Public Works Agency staff are dedicated to improving water quality and the environment for Santa Ana residents!


Did you know that the City’s storm drain system is separate from the sewer system and stormwater flows untreated out to the ocean? When it rains, stormwater can convey pollutants such as trash, oil, bacteria, and sediment through the City’s storm drain system, into our local creeks and rivers, and out to the ocean. These pollutants are harmful to wildlife and the environment.

Tips to protect the environment

Do your part to protect the environment and improve water quality by following the tips below:

  • Always use a drip pan when performing vehicle maintenance to stop any automotive fluids from spilling onto your driveway, the street, or into the gutter. If you notice your vehicle is leaking fluids, fix it as soon as possible and clean up any leaks
  • Clean up pet waste and dispose of it in the trash
  • Check to make sure you are not over-irrigating your landscape and water is not flowing into the gutter
  • Take your car to the car wash! Car washes typically recycle their water and soapy water should not enter the City’s storm drain system. If you do wash your car at home, use minimal water and biodegradable soap. Do not allow wash water to enter the street or gutter and instead direct it towards a landscaped area where it can absorb into the ground
  • Keep trash can lids closed to avoid litter being blown into the street or gutter
  • Sweep up landscape debris and put it in the appropriate bin for disposal
  • Always follow directions on pesticide labels and never use more than specified. Avoid applying pesticides prior to rain events
  • Avoid painting or applying roof sealants prior to rain events
  • Do not hose down or pressure wash sidewalks, driveways, or walkways. Instead, use dry cleanup methods such as a broom, or use minimal water and a mop. Do not allow wash water to flow into the street or gutter
  • Take unwanted household hazardous wastes such as paint, oil, pesticides, cleaners, and used batteries to one of Orange County’s free disposal facilities. Visit for more information
  • Report illegal dumping and pollutant spills to the City’s Public Works Agency by calling (714) 647-3380 or downloading the mySantaAna mobile application


The City of Santa Ana is mandated to ensure that no pollution is allowed to enter into any drainage facility that the City owns or maintains by the Federal Program called NPDES.

What is NPDES and why does the City have to abide by it?

The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting program was established as a result of the 1972 Federal Water Pollution Control Act, subsequently known as the Clean Water Act. The Federal Water Pollution Control Act prohibits the discharge of any pollutant to navigable waters from a point source unless the discharge is authorized by an NPDES permit. In 1987, Congress passed a Clean Water Act Amendment, the Water Quality Act, which brought storm water discharges into the NPDES Program. Cities and counties are regulated through permits issued by the Regional Water Quality Control Boards. Since 1990, operators of large storm drain systems such as the City have been required to:

  • Develop a storm water management program designed to prevent harmful pollutants from being dumped or washed by storm water runoff, into the storm water system, then discharged into local waterbodies; and
  • Obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.

The NPDES permit programs in California are administered by the State Water Resources Control Board and by nine regional boards that issue NPDES permits and enforce regulations within their respective regions. The City of Santa Ana lies within the jurisdiction of the Santa Ana Region. The regional board issues permits to the Orange County Permittees, which includes the County of Orange, Orange County Flood Control District and incorporated cities of Orange County. Since the program’s inception, the County of Orange has served as the principal permittee.

For more information about the Santa Ana Stormwater program, please contact (714) 647-5074.

To report a pollutant spill or problem with a stormdrain or flood control channel (i.e. debris obstructing flow, odor, trash, etc.), please contact the City’s Public Works Agency:

To report a large spill to the Orange County Public Works Water Pollution Response Unit:

If the spill consists of chemicals or hazardous materials, please call 911.

Additional information

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