To protect the health and safety of the public during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, City Hall and other facilities are closed to the public until further notice. The City continues to provide services during this time and recommends using technological alternatives where possible. For more information related to City services during this emergency, please visit the Coronavirus (COVID-19) page or call the City at (310) 802-5000.

Storm Water Pollution Prevention Program

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Test Your Storm Water Knowledge!


Please help the city with our program to protect our beach water quality by taking a short survey about your awareness and understanding of the causes of ocean pollution. The survey was jointly designed by the cities of Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, Torrance, and El Segundo as well as the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). Go to our joint website to take the survey at:

What is Storm Water?

Did you know that run-off water from storms and other sources runs directly to the ocean without benefit of any treatment? It's true. For this reason, operators of storm drain systems (like the City of Manhattan Beach) must comply with the conditions of what is known as the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. Some of the requirements of the permit are to:

  • Conduct community education about the effects of storm drain pollution and ways to reduce or prevent storm drain pollution;
  • Train City employees as to the ways to reduce or prevent storm drain pollution from City activities;
  • Conduct educational site visits to business targeted as potential sources of polluted run off;
  • Prepare budgets and annual status reports as to NPDES activities for submission to the local enforcement agency.

gutter waste

stormwater waste on the beach

The sewer system and storm drain
system are separate systems.
Storm water goes untreated
into the ocean.

When it rains, water collects in the streets and travels through the gutters into a catch basin. The stormwater is then transported through underground pipes called storm drains. The water empties from the storm drains and eventually flows out of a pipe and directly into the ocean. Unlike the sewer system, which carries wastewater (sewage) from indoor drains (ie. sink, toilet, and bathtub) to a wastewater treatment plant like Hyperion, the storm drain system releases storm water directly into the ocean untreated. The reason for this is simple: when it rains, wastewater treatment plants cannot handle the vast amount of run-off that is created almost instantly. This means that any trash, organic materials, or hazardous chemicals which are dumped in the street can pollute our ocean.

DIY?  Although green waste is organic and will biodegrade eventually when it enters the ocean, the clippings require oxygen to break down.  The more green waste in the ocean the more oxygen is needed to break it down, which means less oxygen is available for marine life to survive.  The bottom line is that green waste washed into the ocean through our gutters and storm drains can suffocate fish and other marine wildlife.  If you see anyone washing foreign material (e.g., paint, lawn clippings, concrete, etc.) into the gutters and storm drains, please call our storm water hotline at 1-888-CleanLA.


Storm water pollution signDid you know that Polliwog Park is an important environmental resource? Signs like the one shown on the left are located at various places throughout the City and highlight ways people can prevent storm water pollution.  To learn more about how you can prevent storm water pollution call the City of Manhattan Beach at (310) 802-5312.

The City's Role in Pollution Prevention

You might be asking yourself, "So what is the City doing to prevent stormwater pollution prevention?" In fact, the City of Manhattan Beach is doing a lot of things to keep our ocean safe and clean. Some of the major activities that the City is doing include:

  • Cleaning out all City-owned storm drain catch basins at least twice per year and on a complaint basis. 
  • At least weekly street sweeping of all residential and commercial streets including City-owned and/or operated parking lots. 
  • Using clarifiers at the City Yard for vehicle washing and fueling areas.
  • Adopting a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Ordinance.
  • Implementation of Best Management Practices on City construction and maintenance activities. 
  • Providing employee training for all relevant City employees to ensure awareness and use of BMPs on construction and maintenance projects. 
  • Require contractors working for the City to implement BMPs and good housekeeping measures on City projects.
  • Active public outreach and education program (including this web site!). 
  • Recently, the City took video of all of its storm drains to check their structural integrity and to ensure that no one has illegally connected to the storm drain system (at this time no one has!).

Enhanced Watershed Management Program (EWMP)

The Los Angeles County Municipal Separate Stormwater System (MS4) Discharge Permit (Permit) allows permittees such as Manhattan Beach to develop programs that reduce storm water pollution on a watershed-wide basis through customized strategies, control measures, and best management practices (BMPs). The City has partnered with the Redondo Beach, Torrance, Hermosa Beach and the Los Angeles County Flood Control District to form the Beach Cities Watershed Group to develop a regional solution called the Enhanced Watershed Management Program (EWMP).

Development of the EWMP allows permittees to address the highest watershed priorities and various storm water pollution control measures called for in the Permit in an integrated manner. The EWMP will:

  • Identify water quality priorities
  • Select appropriate Best Management Practices (BMPS) for target pollutants
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of those BMPs (e.g. pollutant load reductions)
  • Quantify the benefits
  • Identify an implementation schedule
  • Conduct a financial analysis of BMPs
  • Develop a strategy for identifying potential funding sources
  • Develop any necessary legal authorities

Please click on link for the full EWMP Document (PDF)