Over-Irrigation

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Over-Irrigation Can Cause Storm Water Pollution


Over watering your landscaped areas may result in excess irrigation water and pollutants being conveyed into the storm drain system. The excess irrigation water that flows off your property and over curbs and into gutters can pick up pollutants including sediment, fertilizers, pesticides, trash, and bacteria.

When fertilizers and pesticides contaminate the over-irrigation runoff and wash into our local waterways they can poison fish. Organics, such as grass clippings rich in nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen decomposing leaves, can cause algal blooms and bacteria growth which can degrade water quality.  Over-irrigation of landscaped areas flushes pollutants, including herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers, bacteria and any other pollutants residing on vegetation or in soil, causing dry weather flows of polluted urban runoff.

Excess irrigation water and storm water drained from El Cajon's paved streets, parking lots, driveways buildings and construction sites discharges with little or no treatment to our storm drain system.  This runoff can also pollute the ground water that eventually finds its way into our streams, rivers and beaches.  It also dramatically increases storm drain maintenance costs.

The City’s storm drains are intended to collect and convey only one thing: uncontaminated storm water.  Anything that is spilled dumped or deposited on a landscaped area or paved surface will be washed into the storm drain if it is not cleaned up before the next storm event.  Over-irrigation of landscaped areas flushes pollutants, including herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers, bacteria and any other pollutants residing on vegetation or in soil, causing dry weather flows of polluted urban runoff.

Recent dry-weather testing of runoff in the northwesterly, downstream portion of Forrester Creek has yielded fecal bacteria counts that are unacceptably high.  Fecal bacteria originate in the waste of warm-blooded animals.  Follow-up investigations have not located a point source for the bacteria, and a probable explanation is that the high bacteria counts result from the flushing of bacteria-laden soil in landscaped and paved areas in typical neighborhoods around our city.

Rather than institute an expensive storm water treatment program, the El Cajon Storm Water Protection Program is asking for your help in keeping contaminants out of our storm water.  If we all do our part, we can significantly reduce the storm water pollution loads to the river and ground water.  Here’s some tips on how you can help:

  • Check your landscape irrigation to insure that you are not over-saturating the soil or causing irrigation runoffwater clean
  • Pick up all pet waste and either flush it down the toilet or place it in the trash

  • Read and follow all instruction when applying herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers

  • Collect and compost or recycle all green waste.  Remember, it contains the herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers you have applied to your landscape

  • Be sure and collect all trash and debris around your yard before it can be washed or blown away

    Remember, you are the Solution to Storm Water Pollution.

    For more information, contact the El Cajon Storm Water Protection Program at (619) 441-1653, or click here for more information.


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