Water Quality

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San Clemente's 24 Hour Pollution Reporting Hotline is (949) 366-1553

                                                Clean Ocean Program

doryThe Clean Ocean Program's mission is to protect and preserve public health and the environment through education and implementation of activities to reduce urban runoff and stormwater pollution and to promote waste reduction and recycling from industrial, commercial, municipal, new development/construction and residential areas. 

The City of San Clemente has developed an environmental program in response to state and federal surface water protection and recycling requirements. The City is also participating in regional programs developed by the County of Orange and various Orange County cities.

About Surface Water Quality

Nationwide, urban runoff and stormwater pollution are the most common causes of water degradation. Urban runoff and stormwater pollution are caused by the daily activities of people everywhere. Rainwater, irrigation overflow and water from cleaning activities run off parking lots, lawns, construction sites and other locations throughout the City, picking up a variety of pollutants (such as trash, fertilizers, dirt, pesticides, oil and grease) on the way to our creeks, canyons, and coastal waters.

"Stormwater runoff" occurs during rains, when water drains off hard surfaces like paved streets, parking lots, and building rooftops. In order to prevent flooding, stormwater is carried through the storm drain system to local creeks and canyons and is eventually discharged to the ocean.

"Urban runoff", different from stormwater, is generated by daily human activities, such as irrigating landscaped areas, hosing hardscapes, and cleaning machines or equipment outdoors. Water from these activities carries a concoction of chemicals, debris, sediment and other pollutants to the ocean via the same storm drain system.

The primary method to control urban runoff and stormwater pollution is through the use of best management practices, or BMPs. BMPs are simple measures people and businesses can take to reduce urban runoff and stormwater pollution. Select the "Home and Business" tab to learn more about BMPs.

The Clean Program works hard to improve water quality, protect public health and the environment.

NV5 san clemente clean ocean ad_highres

Pier Bacteria Source Characterization Study

The City of San Clemente has begun the implementation of a Pier Bacteria Source Characterization Study to identify the source(s) causing bacteria exceedances in the Pacific Ocean Shoreline under and around the municipal pier. The City Council approved the formation of a Stakeholder Advisory Committee that will provide feedback on project work products, support reaching a consensus on the project outcomes and next steps, support cost-effective solutions that address the highest priority source(s) of bacteria, and protect public health.

What is Allowed & What is Not

egretAllowable Discharges

The following discharges are allowed, however, every effort should be made to reduce discharges to the storm drain system whenever possible.

  • Individual residential car washing.
  • Rising ground waters.
  • Uncontaminated ground water infiltration.
  • Uncontaminated pumped ground water.
  • Spring discharge.
  • Air conditioning condensation discharge.
  • Flows from riparian habitats and wetland discharge.
  • De-chlorinated swimming pool discharge.
  • Water from crawl space pumps.
  • Discharges from potable water sources not subject to NPDES Permit No. CAG679001, other than water main breaks.
  • Fountain drain discharge.
  • Footing drain discharge.
  • Water line flushing from existing (not new) water lines*.

*Exemption excludes fire suppression sprinkler system maintenance and testing discharges.

Non-Allowable - Unlawful Discharges

All Other Discharges to The MS4 including but not limited to:

  • Discharges of irrigation water from landscaped areas.  
  • Discharges of any wash water from any cleaning or hosing of impervious surfaces in municipal, industrial, commercial, and residential areas including parking lots, streets, sidewalks, driveways, patios, plazas, work yards and outdoor eating or drinking areas.
  • Discharges that result from the cleaning, repair or maintenance of any type of equipment, machinery, or facility including motor vehicles, cement-related equipment, and port-a-potty servicing.
  • Discharges of wash water from the hosing or cleaning of gas stations, auto repair garages, or other types of automotive service facilities.
  • Sewage discharges.
  • Discharges of wash water from mobile operations such as mobile automobile washing/detail, steam cleaning, power washing, pet grooming and carpet cleaning.
  • Discharges of runoff from material storage areas containing chemicals, fuels, grease, oil, or other hazardous material.
  • Discharges of pool or fountain water containing chlorine, biocides, or other chemicals; discharges of pool or fountain backwash water and pool filter media (DE).
  • Discharges of sediment, pet waste, vegetation clippings, or other landscape or construction related wastes.
  • Discharges of food related wastes or cleaning material (e.g. grease, fish processing, and restaurant kitchen mat and trash bin wash water).

Tips for Reducing Irrigation Runoff

Even when water restrictions are lifted, irrigation runoff into the curb and gutter (storm drain system) is still prohibited by the State, local agencies and water districts. Irrigation water from your yard drain that exits through a curb core hole is also prohibited from entering the storm drain system. Irrigation runoff can pick up pollutants that accumulate on the ground like dirt, bacteria, trash, and motor oil, and may send it into the nearest storm drain inlet. Eventually, bacteria and other pollutants in the storm drain system could enter our creeks and ocean untreated. Follow these tips to prevent irrigation runoff:

  • Adjust sprinklers so they don’t spray onto streets and sidewalks
  • Repair leaking or broken sprinklers
  • Water in short cycles (3-5 minutes) to allow water to absorb into the soil
  • Water in the early morning or late evening when it is cooler outside
  • Temporarily cover your yard drain with a bowl or mat when watering
  • Replace thirsty landscapes with drought-tolerant or native plants 

Fertilize 48 Hours After It Rains

Applying fertilizer (or preferable compost) before a rain event does not allow plants to absorb a sufficient amount of nutrients before the excess rain water washes the fertilizer into our waterways. The fertilizer nourishes algae to grow in excessive levels in our local creeks (both natural and channelized). This rapid growth of algae deprives natural plants of the nutrients they need to survive and can lead to low oxygen levels that threaten fish. The algae in the creeks also serves as a host for bacteria to grow and thrive.  The rivers and creeks then carry fertilizer and bacteria to the ocean where people recreate. You can help improve water quality and protect human health and the environment by using minimal amounts of fertilizer and applying it 48 hours after a rain event.

San Clemente’s Jurisdictional Runoff Management Program

The Jurisdictional Runoff Management Program (JRMP) is the City’s local program for implementing a variety of activities to comply with stormwater permit requirements and protect human health in recreational surface waters. The JRMP is based on model programs and guidance developed jointly by the County of Orange and Orange County cities.

Regional water quality-related documents can be found at the Orange County Regional Clearinghouse including the South Orange County Watershed Management Area Water Quality Improvement Plan.

Urban Runoff Management Fee / Clean Ocean Fund

tstreetflowerSan Clemente voters approved a five-year Urban Runoff Management Fee in 2002 in order to create a city program dedicated to protecting surface water quality and the San Clemente way of life in compliance with State and Federal permit requirements. Although still noted as an “Urban Runoff Management Fee” on the City’s utility bills, this fee is now more commonly referred to as the Clean Ocean Fee since it supports the City’s Urban Runoff Management/Clean Ocean Program.

In 2007 the City sought and obtained property owner approval to continue the existing Clean Ocean Fee for another six years. The election results were 75% in favor and 25% against continuing the fee.

City Council Agenda Report June 19, 2007 Election For Continuation of the Existing Clean Ocean Fee. This report provides information on the proposal to extend the existing storm drainage fee, the progress and future of the Clean Ocean Program, the activities and         associated costs proposed for continuation of the Program to improve water quality, the Proposition 218 voter approval process, and options available to the City Council for further action. 

Attachment 1 of the City Council Agenda Report June 19, 2007 Election For Continuation of the Existing Clean Ocean Fee details the progress that has been made in implementing the Clean Ocean Fee Program to date and discusses considerations for renewing the fee for another term.  Click here for more information on the Clean Ocean Fee Renewal

For any un-answered questions, please call or email us at (949)361-6143 or 

Federal Regulations

palapaClean Water Act

The principal law that serves to protect the nation’s waters is the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, which was originally enacted in 1948. The Clean Water Act (CWA), as it is more commonly referred to today, underwent significant revision when Congress, in response to the public’s growing concern about widespread water pollution, passed the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972.

The 1972 legislation established two fundamental, national goals: eliminate the discharge of pollutants into the nation’s waters and achieve water quality that is both “fishable” and “swimmable.” The 1972 amendments to the CWA also prohibited the discharge of any pollutant to waters of the United States from any “point source” (i.e., a discharge pipe) unless the discharge was authorized by a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. However, “non-point source discharges” (i.e., stormwater or urban runoff) were not fully covered under the NPDES permit program until Congress amended the CWA in 1987.

In the 1987 CWA amendments, Congress directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish a permitting framework under the NPDES program to address stormwater discharges associated with urban areas and certain industrial activities. EPA subsequently developed a two-phased NPDES permitting program.

Relative to nationwide stormwater management, there are several sections of the CWA that are important:

  • Section 303(d) - Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs).
  • Section 319 - Non-point Source Prevention and Control Program.
  • Section 402 - NPDES Program.

Nationwide Urban Runoff Program

Between the time of the 1972 and 1987 CWA amendments, EPA initiated the Nationwide Urban Runoff Program (NURP) as a means to gather significant amounts of urban runoff quality data and disseminate this information to the general public. Many Federal, State, regional, and local agencies assisted EPA in this program from 1978 through 1983. The objectives of the program were to:

  • Quantify urban runoff characteristics.
  • Assess urban runoff impacts on receiving water quality.
  • Examine the effectiveness of control practices that remove urban runoff pollutants.
Data was compiled from 81 representative outfalls in 28 metropolitan areas over an average of 28 storm events, accounting for a total of 2,300 separate storm events nationwide. Runoff constituents that were measured included:
  • Total suspended solids (TSS).
  • Total copper, lead and zinc.
  • Total and dissolved phosphorous.
  • Total Kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN).
  • Nitrite, plus nitrate nitrogen.
  • Biological and chemical oxygen demand.

From these extensive nationwide measurements, typical concentration ranges for each of these constituents was determined for runoff from residential, commercial, mixed residential and commercial, and open/non-urban land uses. The following table is based on results from the NURP study. The results of this program formed the benchmark for many stormwater and urban runoff studies upon which comparisons were made to determine the impacts of various pollutants in runoff.

Federal NPDES Permit Program

CWA Section 402 prohibits the discharge of pollutants into waters of the United States from any point source without an NPDES permit. Although this program initially focused on point source discharges of municipal and industrial wastewater, results of the NURP identified contaminated stormwater as one of the primary causes of water quality impairment. To regulate stormwater (non-point source) discharges, EPA developed the following two-phased NPDES permit program.

NPDES Permit Program - Phase I

In November 1990, under Phase I of its stormwater program, the EPA published NPDES permit application requirements for municipal and industrial stormwater discharges. These application requirements include the following:

  • Municipalities which own and operate separate storm drain systems serving populations of 100,000 or more, or which contribute significant pollutants to waters of the United States, must obtain municipal stormwater NPDES permits.
  • A municipality must develop and implement a stormwater management program to obtain a permit.
  • The municipal stormwater management program must address how to reduce pollutants in industrial stormwater discharges and other discharges that are contributing a substantial pollutant load to their systems.
  • Facilities that are discharging stormwater associated with industrial activity, including construction activities that disturb 5 or more acres, must acquire industrial stormwater NPDES permit coverage.
NPDES Permit Program - Phase II

On August 7, 1995, EPA amended the NPDES permit application requirements in order to focus on Phase II stormwater discharges, such as discharges caused by:
  • Commercial, light industrial, and institutional activities.
  • Construction activities under 5 acres.
  • Municipal storm drain systems serving populations under 100,000.

State Regulations

birdWater Quality Control Plan for Ocean Waters of California (Ocean Plan)

The Ocean Plan was created by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) in 1972 and most recently amended in 1997. The objective of the Ocean Plan is to protect “the quality of the ocean waters for use and enjoyment by the people of the State.” The provisions of the Ocean Plan apply to both point source and non-point source discharges to the ocean waters of California. The Plan sets forth water quality objectives and effluent limitations for all bordering oceans of the state. 

Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act

Under the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act (Porter-Cologne; California Water Code Section 13000), the SWRCB is provided with the ultimate authority over state water rights and water quality policy. However, Porter-Cologne also established nine Regional Water Quality Control Boards (RWQCBs) to provide oversight on water quality issues at a regional and local level. San Clemente lies within the jurisdiction of the San Diego RWQCB (Region 9).

Although the Regional Boards are responsible for a variety of water quality functions, one primary function is the preparation and updating of regional Basin Plans, which serve to control water quality within various hydrologic and geographic regions. Basin Plans establish:

  • The beneficial uses of individual water bodies to be protected.
  • Water quality standards, commonly known as water quality objectives, for both surface water and groundwater.
  • Actions necessary to maintain these standards such that non-point and point-source pollution in California waters is controlled.

The San Diego Region Basin Plan is available from Region 9 through their office or website. To protect the beneficial uses of State waters, the Basin Plan requirements are incorporated into the State NPDES program described below.

California Coastal Non-point Pollution Control Program

The Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments (CZARA) of 1990 requires states with coastal zones to develop and implement Coastal Non-point Pollution Control Programs. The objective of this program is for states and local authorities to work jointly to develop and employ management measures to control non-point source pollution, including urban runoff, to restore and protect urban waters. The Coastal Commission and the Regional Boards are responsible for development and implementation of the California Coastal Non-point Pollution Control Program.

CZARA provides guidance on required management measures to address various sources of non-point source pollution, including certain urban runoff but excluding discharges regulated by NPDES permits. CZARA requirements also apply to stormwater discharges that are not regulated under the current Phase I NPDES program.

California NPDES Permit Programs

In many states, EPA has delegated administration of the NPDES permit program to the state water quality control authority. Therefore, in California, the State Board and its Regional Boards administer the NPDES permit program. Currently, discharges from construction, industrial, and municipal activities are regulated under the NPDES program, all of which are described further below.

Construction Permits

Construction site stormwater management is governed by the State Board under the General Construction Stormwater Permit. These regulations prohibit discharges of stormwater to waters of the United States from construction projects that encompass one or more acres of soil disturbance unless the discharge is in compliance with an NPDES permit. 

The California General Construction Permit (enforced by the nine Regional Boards) requires all dischargers where construction activity disturbs one acre or more to: 

  • Develop and implement a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) which specifies best management practices (BMPs) that will prevent all construction pollutants from contacting stormwater with the intent of keeping all products of erosion from moving off-site into receiving waters.
  • Eliminate or reduce non-stormwater discharges to storm sewer systems and other waters of the nation.
  • Perform inspections of all BMPs.

Construction activity subject to this General Construction Permit includes clearing, grading, and disturbances to the ground such as stockpiling, or excavation that results in soil disturbances of at least one acre of total land area. Construction activity that disturbs less than one acre of soil is subject to this General Construction Permit if the construction activity is part of a larger common development plan (encompassing one acre or more of disturbed soil) or if the construction causes significant impairment to local water quality. Construction activity does not include routine maintenance to maintain original line and grade, hydraulic capacity, or original purpose of the facility, nor does it include emergency construction activities required to protect public health and safety.

A construction project that involves a dredge and/or fills discharge to any jurisdictional surface water (e.g., wetland, channel, pond, or marine water) also needs a CWA Section 404 permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and a CWA Section 401 Water Quality Certification from the Regional Board and State Board. Stormwater discharges from dredge spoil placement, which occur outside of Corps jurisdiction (upland sites), and are part of construction activity that disturbs one or more acres of land are covered by this General Construction Permit. 

It is the responsibility of the landowner to obtain coverage under this General Construction Permit prior to commencement of construction activities. To obtain coverage, the landowner must file a Notice of Intent (NOI) with a vicinity map and the appropriate fee with the State Board. Coverage under this permit does not occur until the applicant develops an adequate SWPPP for the project. Section A of the General Construction Permit outlines the required contents of a SWPPP. For proposed construction activity on easements or on nearby property by agreement or permission, the entity responsible for the construction activity is required to file an NOI and filing fee and is responsible for development of the SWPPP, all of which must occur prior to commencement of construction activities.

This General Construction Permit does not apply to stormwater discharges from:

  • Tribal Lands.
  • The Lake Tahoe Hydrologic Unit or San Jacinto Watershed.
  • Construction under one acre, unless part of a larger common plan of development or sale.
  • Projects covered by an individual NPDES Permit for stormwater discharges associated with construction activity.
  • Landfill construction that is subject to the general industrial permit.

Industrial Permits

Industrial site stormwater management is governed by the State Board under the General Industrial Stormwater Permit. These regulations prohibit discharges of stormwater to waters of the United States, unless in compliance with a NPDES permit, from a broad range of industrial activities, including mining, manufacturing, disposal, recycling, and transportation.

To receive coverage under the General Industrial Permit, the owner or operator of an industrial facility must:

  • Send the State Board an NOI to comply with the General Industrial Permit.
  • Prepare and implement a SWPPP that:
    • Discusses characteristics of the site and specific pollutants which could impact stormwater quality.
    • Describes BMPs that the owner or operator will implement to control sources of stormwater pollution to the maximum extent practicable.
  • Verify that any illicit connections to storm drains have been eradicated.
  • Develop and execute a Monitoring Plan to assess the effectiveness of BMPs through visual inspection of storm drains during wet and dry weather and storm sampling.
  • Maintain a copy of the SWPPP and Monitoring Plan onsite such that it is available for regulatory agency staff and public inspection.
  • Prepare and submit an annual report with monitoring results and a certificate of compliance by July 1st annually.
  • Pay an annual fee.

An industrial facility has the option to request an individual, site-specific NPDES permit instead of the General Industrial Permit. However, Regional Boards typically only consider adopting an individual permit when the facility has exceptional characteristics or poses a considerable threat to stormwater.

Municipal Permits

The Regional Boards implement the municipal stormwater NPDES permit program. The State issues area-wide permits for urban areas that are considerable sources of pollutants or contribute to water quality standard violations. Regardless of population, the area-wide permits cover all municipalities within the defined urban area. Therefore, San Clemente is included in the regional Orange County NPDES Phase I permit described below even though the City’s population is less than the threshold for a Phase I NPDES permit. 

Orange County Municipal Permit

In 1990, the County of Orange, the Orange County Flood Control District (OCFCD) and incorporated cities of Orange County (collectively referred to as co-permittees) obtained two regional NPDES Municipal Stormwater permits. The Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board issued a permit for central and north Orange County while the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board issued an almost identical permit for south Orange County. To guide the stormwater permit program, the co-permittees developed a Drainage Area Management Plan (DAMP), which was approved by both Regional Boards in 1993.

In 1996, both Regional Boards issued new second-term permits, replacing the original first-term storm water permits. The DAMP was revised accordingly to address the requirements of the second-term permits. In 2002, both Regional Boards adopted new third-term permits. Unlike the past permits, the Regional Boards set out on different approaches to deal with stormwater management. This resulted in the adoption of different permits from each of the Regional Boards. The DAMP was again revised in 2003 to guide the third permit term.

The fourth term San Diego Regional Board permit, which covers the south Orange County area including San Clemente, was most recently adopted on December 16, 2009. Under the permit, the responsibilities of the co-permittees include, but are not limited to, the implementation of:

  • Management programs
  • BMPs.
  • Monitoring programs.

The permit strives to improve water quality by revising the Jurisdictional Urban Runoff Management Plan (termed a Local Implementation Plan, LIP), which includes the following components:

  • Land-Use Planning for New Development and Redevelopment Component
  • Construction Component.
  • Existing Development Component (Municipal, Industrial, Commercial, Residential).
  • Public Education Component.
  • Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination Component.
  • Public Participation Component.
  • Program Effectiveness Assessment Component.
  • Fiscal Analysis Component.
As the programs evolve and become formal programs, each co-permittee is required to further this effort by working with all other co-permittees in the same watershed to develop and implement Watershed Urban Runoff Management Plans (Watershed URMPs) for specific watersheds in Orange County.


Local Regulations - San Clemente Municipal Code

Stormwater Runoff Control Ordinance - Chapter 13.40

This section of the Municipal Code is commonly referred to as the "Water Quality Ordinance," and defines and prohibits illicit connections and discharges. According to Section 13.40.020 - Illicit Connections and Discharges, no person shall:

  • Construct, maintain, operate and/or utilize any illicit connection.
  • Cause, allow or facilitate any prohibited discharge.
  • Act, cause, permit or suffer any agent, employee, or independent contractor, to construct, maintain, operate or utilize any illicit connection, or cause, allow or facilitate any prohibited discharge.
Section 13.30.030 states that all new development and significant redevelopment shall be done following the DAMP and any conditions and requirements established by the Public Work and Community Development Departments.

Water Service System Ordinance - Chapter 13.04

This section of the Municipal Code pertains to the water system. Included in this chapter is a water consumption rate schedule, which consists of a three-tier pricing system wherein the unit cost of water provided increases depending on the amount consumed. This pricing system encourages water conservation, which helps to reduce urban runoff by reducing the amount of water from over-irrigation, pavement, car washing, etc.

Sewer Service System Ordinance - Chapter 13.24

This section of the Municipal Code pertains to the sewer system and its prohibited waste discharges, permitting, inspection and approval of work, sewer connections, sewerage rate, etc.

Waste Discharge Pretreatment and Source Control Program - Chapter 13.28

As part of the South Orange County Wastewater Authority (SOCWA), it is mandatory that the City of San Clemente adopts and employs "an industrial waste pretreatment program to protect the environment and the wastewater treatment system workers and facilities."

According to Section 13.28.020, the objectives of this chapter are to:
  • Ensure compliance with various regulatory agencies and certain NPDES requirements.     
  • Prevent the introduction of pollutants and interference with sewage facility operations from heavy metals and non-compatible wastes discharged to the public sewer.
  • Identify the goals, objectives and procedures for complying with federal pretreatment standards.
  • Prevent municipal sludge contamination.
  • Improve the ability to recycle and reclaim wastewater and sludge from the sewage treatment system.
  • Encourage waste minimization and material substitution by industrial users.
  • Protect City and/or South East Regional Reclamation Authority (SERRA) employees and the general public who may be affected by wastewater, sludge and chemical hazards.
  • Encourage the reuse, recycling and reduction of water, industrial wastewater and sludge discharged to the sewer system.
  • Minimize the discharge of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that could individually or collectively contribute to a decrease in the quality of air emission from sewage facilities.
  • Establish an effective monitoring program for the control of industrial wastewaters.
  • Establish an enforcement response plan (ERP) that ensures equal treatment to all dischargers.
  • Equitably allocate costs.
  • Prevent the introduction of pollutants into sewage facilities that can pass through the treatment works, inadequately treated, into the receiving waters, or otherwise be incompatible with the sewage facilities. (Ord. 1186 §1 (part), 1997).
Excavations and Grading Ordinance - Chapter 15.36 and City of San Clemente Grading Manual

The grading chapter in Municipal Code Sections 15.36.020 through 15.36.420 replaces chapter 70 of the Uniform Building Code, Excavation and Grading.

The City Engineer creates the rules, procedures, and interpretations in order to govern this section. This chapter is intended to "safeguard life, limb, property, and the public welfare by regulating grading on private property in the City of San Clemente." Pertinent chapters to this URMP include:
  • Section 15.36.090. "No person shall alter an existing watercourse, channel or revetment by excavating, or placing fill, rock protection or structural improvements without a valid grading permit unless waived by the City Engineer or performed as interim protection under emergency flood fighting conditions."
  • Section 15.36.260. In order to get a grading permit, the permittee has to first post with the City Engineer, get security approved by the City Attorney and City Engineer or get a bond. This requirement can be relinquished if, among other things, no significant drainage, erosion, flooding, or siltation problems will exist as a result of incomplete or improper grading.
  • Section 15.36.300. "Drainage facilities and terracing shall conform to the provisions of Subarticle 10 of the Grading Manual unless otherwise approved by the City Engineer and delineated on the approved grading plan.
  • Section 15.36.320. This section refers to erosion control. During the rainy season, temporary and/or permanent erosion control devices shall be used. Improvements need to be maintained in a clean condition. Storm flows shall be prevented from carrying sediment and debris past the boundaries of the project. Watering will not be used to clean streets except for fine materials that cannot be rid by sweeping or other mechanical means. Drainage outlets at the graded site shall have desilting facilities. Desilting basins will be constructed around the edge of the project wherever and whenever practicable. This will provide better maintenance access from paved roads during the wet weather season. Removable protective devices should be in place at the end of each working day when the five-day rain probability forecast surpasses forty percent.
  • Section 15.36.340. Silt and other debris needs to be removed from check berms and desilting basins after each rainstorm. They must also be pumped dry. The performance of the erosion control system in place needs to be assessed and changed as necessary.
City of San Clemente Zoning Ordinance - Title 17

The purpose of this ordinance is to "protect and promote the public health, safety, comfort, convenience, morals and general welfare of the present and future citizens of the City…" These ordinances are in accordance to what is stated under the General Plan in the visioning for current and future uses.

This code supplies a uniform basis for regulating the land use, buildings and structures, and supports orderly growth. The city is divided into Residential Zones, Commercial Zones, Mixed-Use Zones, Public Zones, Open Space Zones, Specific Plan and Study Area Zones, and Overlay Districts. Some businesses, such as vehicle dealerships and vehicle repair facilities, may be required to comply with the NPDES Stormwater Permit Program.

Building Code, Fire Code, Plumbing Code and Other Applicable Codes

In summary, these codes contain requirements that no person shall construct or operate any illicit connection or cause or allow any prohibited discharge, and that no flammable liquids will be discharged, to the storm sewer system.

Ocean Recreational Water Protection Program

This guidance document for Orange County lifeguards was developed to express existing ocean water quality monitoring efforts, relevant recreational water quality standards, and measures for dealing with unauthorized discharges of waste on the beach or adjacent waters. It directs lifeguards to be watchful for potentially hazardous spills or conditions, and take suitable timely action to alleviate such predicaments. ENFORCEMENT The primary goal of The Clean Ocean Program is to achieve voluntary compliance with local environmental laws. The municipal code exists to protect and preserve the San Clemente way of life. The City uses the following options to enforce its Water Quality requirements. Enforcement can begin with any option depending on the nature of the violation.

Verbal Directive / Education

This level of enforcement consists of a written or verbal warning explaining the direct water quality violation and notice of potential fine. Educational material is typically provided.

Notice of Non-compliance

A written notice of non-compliance explains in detail the nature of the violation. As appropriate, a time period will be recorded and pictures will be taken for documentation and future reference if needed for administrative action.

Administrative Citation

Administrative citations are typically issued for continued violations and/or more serious violations of the City’s municipal code. Citation amounts range from $100 to $500 for each violation. The citation form includes instructions to contest a violation.

Other Enforcement

The City frequently charges violators for staff time and clean up costs associated with spills and investigations. Continued violations could result in issuance of a stop work notice for active construction sites or a cease and desist order to shut the doors on offending businesses or operations. The City may also refer cases to the Orange County District Attorney, the State Contractors Board or other agency.



San Clemente Sustainability Action Plan

In July 2010 the City adopted its first Sustainability Action Plan to help guide efforts to improve the environmental sustainability of City operations and the community in general.

Drainage Area Management Plan

The Drainage Area Management Plan (DAMP) was originally drafted in 1993 in accordance with the First Term Permits issued by the Santa Ana and San Diego Regional Boards. This document is the principal policy and guidance document for the countywide Stormwater Program. The most recent revision of the DAMP was in 2003 in response to Third Term Permit requirements.

San Diego Regional Water Board’s Basin Plan

Although the Regional Boards are responsible for a variety of water quality functions, one primary function is the preparation and updating of regional Basin Plans, which serve to control water quality within various hydrologic and geographic regions. Basin Plans establish beneficial uses of individual water bodies, water quality standards for specific uses, and actions necessary to maintain these standards such that non-point and point-source pollution in California waters is controlled.

San Diego Regional NPDES Municipal Stormwater Permit (Fifth Term Regional Permit)

The San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board adopted the Fifth Term Regional NPDES Permit, which includes San Clemente, on February 11, 2015. The Permit regulates stormwater and urban runoff discharges to the municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4), more commonly known as the City’s storm drain system.

Orange County Stormwater Program Brochures

The County of Orange and the incorporated cities in Orange County have collaborated to form a countywide Stormwater Program. A great effort of the program is to produce standard public education materials for use throughout the County.

Ocean Closure Reports

The Orange County Health Care Agency - Ocean Water Protection Program provides up-to-date information on the status of beach postings, closures and advisory notices. The Agency also offers an array of other beach and educational information. Tar on the Beach If you have been down to the beach recently you may have encountered tar. This is a naturally occurring phenomenon that occasionally will wash ashore on our beaches. Please be aware of this condition and try to avoid contact if possible. While skin contact is not a health threat, it can be messy. Baby Oil is effective at helping to remove tar from your skin. If you have any questions or need further assistance please e-mail