Stormwater Pollution Prevention - National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)

Stormwater pollution is urban runoff water that has picked up pollutants as it flows through the storm drain system - a network of channels, gutters, and pipes that collect runoff from the following and empties directly into local waterways:

  • City Streets
  • Construction Sites
  • Farms
  • Neighborhoods
  • Parking Lots

Urban Runoff

Unlike sewage, which goes to treatment plants, urban runoff flows untreated through the storm drain system. Anything thrown, swept, or poured into the street, gutter, or a catch basin, the curbside openings that lead into the storm drain system, can flow directly into our channels, rivers, and eventually to the ocean.

This includes pollutants like:

  • Anti-Freeze
  • Cigarette Butts
  • Motor Oil
  • Paint from Brushes and Containers Rinsed in the Gutter
  • Pet Waste
  • Runoff from Pesticides and Fertilizers
  • Toxic Household Chemicals
  • Trash

Contaminated runoff pollutes our drinking water and contaminates waterways, making them unsafe for people and wildlife.

Green Tips

Following a few green tips is all it takes to prevent stormwater pollution. Here are a few examples:

  • Never clean brushes or rinse paint containers in the street, gutter, or near a storm drain. Clean water-based paints in the sink.
  • Try Grasscycling (leaving grass clippings on your lawn instead of using a grass catcher). The clippings act as a natural fertilizer and because the grass is mostly water, it also irrigates your lawn, conserving water. Placing your leaves, grass clippings and other yard waste into your green waste containers, instead of blowing, sweeping or hosing them into the street or gutter, helps prevent clogging of catch basins and polluting waterways.
  • If water flows off your yard and onto your driveway or sidewalk, your system is over-watering. Sprinkler runoff carries pesticides and fertilizers into the storm drain system.
  • When it rains, dog and other animal waste left on lawns, sidewalks and in the street can wash into storm drains and flow untreated directly into our local waterways. The bacteria and risk of disease threaten the health of our kids and communities.

Report Illegal Dumping or Non-Emergency Stormwater Violations

If you observe illegal dumping or the release of known or suspected hazardous materials, call 911 immediately. Stay away from the material and spill area and also keep others away. To report non-emergency violations call (909) 864-6861, ext. 271. 

Commercial & Industrial Businesses

In order to comply with the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit for the Santa Ana River Watershed Region issued by the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board for the State of California, the City of Highland is mandated to perform stormwater and non-storm water compliance inspections of local businesses to ensure businesses are complying with the MS4 Permit and the city’s stormwater ordinance.


The City of Highland Public Services Division has developed an inventory of all existing commercial and industrial businesses and prioritized them according to the type of business and a potential threat to water quality. Based on this prioritization, the City will be conducting stormwater compliance inspections of all industrial and most commercial facilities within the City. In most cases stormwater compliance inspections could occur at any time, they are not scheduled in advance.

Best Management Practices

Please visit the Business section of the San Bernardino County Stormwater Program website for tips on Best Management Practices to prevent stormwater pollution and help you remain in compliance.