Only Rain Goes in the Drain

Earlier this month, the County of Orange notified the City of Laguna Woods about a white film on the surface of ponded water at the outfall (location where stormwater exits the storm drain system) near Aliso Creek. The county believed the film to be paint but a final determination could not be made.


The county’s observation presents a good opportunity to remind residents to practice stormwater best management practices during routine household activities. By implementing best management practices, homeowners can keep common pollutants off the ground and out of storm drains

Water that flows into storm drains is not treated. Runoff from homes and businesses may contain pollutants that have harmful effects on downstream creeks, rivers, bays and the ocean. Unlike household sewage, this water is not treated and can negatively impact recreational use, wildlife habitat and even human health.

Many household hazardous materials and stormwater pollutants that may be used in and around residences during routine household activities include: 

  • Oils 
  • Paints 
  • Cleaners 
  • Bleaches 
  • Pesticides 
  • Glues 
  • Solvents 

Adopt these best management practices to keep storm drains clear of polluted runoff during household activities: 

  • Plan and complete household paint projects when rain is not predicted. 
  • Rinse tools such as paint brushes, buckets and rags in a sink connected to the sanitary sewer. Never wash tools where washwater can drain into the street, gutter or storm drain.  
  • Sweep up debris and dispose of it in the trash. 
  • Do not hose down driveways or sidewalks into the street or gutter. 
  • If safe, contain, clean up and properly dispose of all hazardous waste spills. If unsafe conditions exist, call 911 to activate a proper response team. 
  • Household hazardous materials must be stored indoors or under cover, and in closed and labeled containers. 
  • Dispose of household hazardous waste at a local household hazardous waste collection center. Laguna Woods residents may also call WM Curbside at 800-449-7587 for free door-to-door household hazardous waste collection.
  • Only purchase the types and amounts of materials needed. 
  • Share unused portions of products with neighbors or community programs. 

For information about preventing polluted runoff during home improvement projects, check out this brochure

How H2OC Helps Protect County Water Resources 

H2OC is a cooperative stormwater program that includes all 34 cities in Orange County, the County of Orange and the Orange County Flood Control District. Clean and healthy beaches, creeks, rivers, bays, wetlands, and ocean are important to Orange County. H2OC provides resources to residents and businesses to encourage personal action and prevent polluted runoff from entering our waterways.  

Visit to learn more about runoff, water pollution and how you can be the solution to runoff pollution and protect our water resources. If you witness a violation, reach out to the county’s 24-hour pollution reporting hotline: 877-89-SPILL (1-877-897-7455). 

For more Village news, click on the tag “What’s Up in the Village” below.  


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