Summertime Pollution Prevention for Summer Waterways

county of san diego watershed protection program


Sprinkler repair

Sprinkler, Pool, and Spa Maintenance

Summer is in full swing with sprinkler systems hard at work and a lot of activity in our pools and spas! Doing some easy summertime maintenance on your sprinkler systems, pools, and spas will help prevent polluted runoff from entering our storm drain system and our local waterways. Here are a few ways you can help keep our local waterways clean all summer long.

Sprinkler Maintenance and Programming

  • Repair leaking or broken sprinklers as soon as possible.
  • Adjust sprinklers so they don’t spray onto streets or sidewalks.
  • Program sprinklers to run in short cycles to allow water to absorb into the soil and to run in the early morning or late evening when it’s cooler.

Sprinklers that are operating improperly can contribute to overwatering and excess runoff that can pick up pollutants like dirt, bacteria, trash, and motor oil, and carry them into the nearest storm drain. Check out Helix Water District’s new video on how to easily and correctly make adjustments to your sprinkler program and water efficiently.

With July being Smart Irrigation Month, learn even more about how to maximize the efficiency of your irrigation system, protect the environment, and prevent losing money through the EPA’s Watersense Program at

Pool, Spa, and Fountain Chemicals

  • Drain water to a landscaped or rocky area on your property that will not cause soil erosion or runoff to a storm drain.
  • If you do not have a landscaped area on your property, discharge chlorinated or treated water into the property’s sanitary sewer system to ensure that the chemicals often used in pools, spas, and fountains do not enter our storm drains. For information on proper discharge methods, contact your local wastewater or sewer agency. For unincorporated areas in San Diego County, call 858-514-4990.
  • Dispose of debris from filters in the trash and rinse them in sinks connected to the sewer or over landscaped areas. 
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions for all pool chemicals. For more information on where to properly dispose of excess chemicals, call 1-877-R-1-EARTH (1-877-713-2784).

Pool, spa, and fountain chemicals contain stormwater pollutants such as chlorine, algicides, and other chemicals which can negatively affect our water quality and harm aquatic life. 

Best Management Practices (BMPs)

  • Use BMPs to prevent runoff pollution from entering storm drains.

BMPs are techniques or controls used to prevent or reduce the discharge of pollutants into the storm drain system.

For more information on BMPs for irrigation runoff, sprinkler, pool, spa, and fountain maintenance , and other ways to manage stormwater pollution, visit our Educational Handouts page.

Glistening pool


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Report Stormwater Pollution
Report observed pollution to the correct jurisdiction.

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Research property information and permits. Apply for some permits online.

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Find property information including zoning designation with our web-based mapping tool. 

Watershed Protection Website

project clean water

Project Clean Water efforts are focused on providing a centralized point of access to water quality information and resources for San Diego County Watersheds. Click HERE to visit Project Clean Water’s website.