Industrial & Commercial BMPs

A Guide for Commercial & Industrial Businesses

Urban storm water runoff is the largest contributor to watershed pollution in San Diego County.

Your business is required to prevent urban runoff pollution by implementing Best Management Practices (BMPs).

The City will be conducting inspections to ensure that BMPs are being used and that water quality is protected.

Pollutants of Concern

As rainfall flows over the ground, it picks up a variety of pollutants and deposits them into our watersheds. The following pollutants are commonly transported in the storm drain system and have been found to degrade water quality.

  • Sediments
  • Fertilizers
  • Metals
  • Detergents
  • Pesticides
  • Organic compounds (solvents)
  • Trash and debris
  • Oil and grease
  • Bacteria and viruses

Best Management Practices

The following BMPs are required to be used at all industrial and commercial businesses, where applicable, to reduce urban runoff pollution in our streams and waterways. To do your part in protecting our water quality, please implement the following BMPs, where applicable, or as noted by the City inspector.


  • Regularly sweep around site; do not use a hose. Collect and dispose of debris in trash.
  • Train all employees to consider urban runoff pollution before performing any outdoor activities.
  • Never dispose of wash water to the storm drain system. Properly dispose of it into the sanitary sewer (sink or toilet).
  • Report any illegal dumping to the storm drain system by calling 858-668-4700.

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  • Only irrigate during early morning or late evening to avoid evaporation.
  • Aim sprinklers to avoid watering other areas.
  • Time sprinklers to avoid overwatering and causing runoff.
  • Minimize pesticide, herbicide and fertilizer use, which are harmful to animals downstream.
  • Hand-pull weeds instead of using herbicides.
  • Do not use pesticides that eliminate beneficial insects (i.e. use Integrated Pest Management).

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Outdoor Material Storage

  • Store all potential pollutants indoors or under a covered area not exposed to rain.
  • Clean-up all spills immediately using absorbent materials. Properly dispose of used absorbents.
  • Keep lids on all outdoor storage containers.
  • Label all material storage containers.
  • Regularly sweep and clean all outdoor storage areas to remove any sediment (dirt) and debris.

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Waste Management

  • Keep the ground around all outdoor garbage and dumpster areas free of trash, sediment and debris.
  • Keep lids on dumpsters and trash cans whenever possible.
  • Fix any leaks in garbage cans or dumpsters.
  • Clean-up all spills immediately.

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Vehicle / Equipment Maintenance

  • Perform all vehicle maintenance indoors when possible.
  • Use drip pans to collect fluids from leaky vehicles.
  • Clean-up spills immediately using absorbent materials. Properly dispose of used absorbents.

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Vehicle / Equipment Washing

  • Wash vehicles at a commercial car wash when possible. (Commercial car washes drain to the sanitary sewer and not to the storm drain.)
  • Wash vehicles over a pervious (absorbent) surface such as dirt, gravel or grass to prevent runoff.
  • Minimize the use of soaps and water while washing.
  • Drain excess wash water to the sanitary sewer (sink or toilet), not to storm drains.

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General Cleaning

  • Perform washing over a pervious surface or where water drains to the sanitary sewer.
  • Minimize use of cleaning agents.
  • Dispose of used wash water to the sanitary sewer, not to storm drains.

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  • Minimize the amount of exposed soils to prevent erosion from wind or water.
  • Cover construction material stockpiles with tarps or plastic liners to prevent sediment from blowing or washing away.
  • Use gravel bags around the site perimeter to capture any sediment (dirt) washed away in runoff.
  • Protect nearby storm drains with gravel bags.
  • Regularly inspect and clean equipment, vehicles and storage areas.
  • Keep lids secured on all material storage containers.
  • Store materials where not exposed to rain.

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Difference Between Sanitary Sewers & Storm Drains

The water that drains down a sink or toilet in a home or business flows to the sanitary sewer and is treated by the City of San Diego at a wastewater treatment plant.

The storm drain system, on the other hand, is designed to carry rainwater from city streets and driveways to prevent flooding. This water does not receive any treatment. It flows directly to creeks and rivers – terminating at the Pacific Ocean!

Unfortunately, as rainfall flows over the ground, it picks up debris and pollutants and deposits them into our watersheds.

Sanitary Sewer and Storm Drain Diagram

Contacts & Additional Resources