Many of you have noticed that around your neighborhoods you have nicely paved streets and gutters that efficiently and safely remove street runoff after a rain. Some of you may have also noticed that some of it goes directly into the storm drains in your neighborhood. Out of sight, out of mind…right? After all, the stenciled words over some storm drains tell you it goes to the ocean. Not True!

It goes to your urban lake, to be precise. 30 years ago a trickle may have gotten close to the ocean, but most likely the overflow goes to your local creek or river, then directly to the ocean. Or it seeps into the local aquifer after leaving your lake.

What about when you wash your car, or change the oil, or clean off your drive way. You got it, it goes into your Lake, along with all the rest of the trash, dog poop and whatever liquid carries the debris to the gutters, into storm drains, then to your lake.

Most likely, when your Urban Lake was created, the initial intent was to be a storm water catch basin and or recreational fishing lake, carrying clean rain water to “your” Lake. In those days, regulatory officials, engineers, and politicians, never imagined the amount of pollution, urban density would create. By making such an efficient storm water system, this “Funneling” has brought it all to one location, ‘your” Lake.

What can you do to help?
• Repair broken sprinklers & stop landscape runoff to the gutter.
• Use environmentally safe pesticides & fertilizers in your garden.
• Pick up after your dog.
• Take your car to the car wash. Special water treatment tanks or divert the oily/soapy water from entering storm drains.
• Clean your driveway oil spots with “Simple Green” or other biodegradable cleaners.
• Pick up loose papers that fall into the gutter, after the trash truck takes the trash.
• When doing any remodeling make sure no construction runoff goes into the gutter.
• If remodeling or adding a pool, install salt water system verses chlorine.

Not all Urban Lakes are currently being treated for urban & storm water pollution but you can make it less damaging to your Lakes ecosystem, by stopping the pollution at its source, YOU.