Soil and Sediment (Dirt)

Why is it bad for water quality?
SoilUnvegetated hillsides, unstable slopes, improperly maintained drains, and over-irrigation from home gardens causes soil erosion problems, another problematic contaminate of storm water that must be controlled. Too much sediment or dirt in our waterbodies chokes aquatic life by creating murky conditions, fills natural drainage areas, and alters the topography of the land. Poorly maintained drains can also cause extensive property damage, e.g. collapsing hillsides, flooding, and potential sinkholes.

What can we do to prevent sediment from polluting waterways or property damage?
Dirt on the streetExposed dirt piles on streets and sidewalks are illegal. If you must temporarily remove soil during improvement projects, make sure to leave it in a contained, covered area where it cannot be tracked onto the street.
Vegetate slopes that have exposed soil. The roots from plants help hold soil in place and prevent erosion during irrigation, rain storms, wind storms or even from the force of gravity.
If any dirt is left on the sidewalks or streets after a project, sweep the dirt and dispose of it either back in your yard, or for large projects, have a company listed in the Yellow Pages come to haul the dirt away for you.
If you see dirt coming off the property of large construction sites, immediately notify the Clean Water Program at 760-435-5800 and an inspector will be sent to the site to investigate the incident.
Regularly maintain the drains on your property to ensure proper flow. Clear any debris that might be clogging your drains. Examples of drains include area drains from your front or back yard leading to the gutter, or a concrete “V” or brow ditch commonly seen on steeply sloped hillsides. Property damage caused by poorly maintained and functioning drainage on private property is not the responsibility of the City.

What do the laws say about sediments?
It is illegal to leave piles of soil exposed, let soil run into the streets and storm drains, or have clogged drainage on your property.

Report any water running in the street when it is not raining or someone dumping something in the storm drain or curb and gutter by calling the
Urban Runoff Hotline at 760-435-4500.