General Information

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What is Stormwater Pollution?

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 city streets, neighborhoods, farms, construction sites and parking lots) and empties directly into local waterways.

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, creeks, bays and ocean. This includes pollutants like trash, pet waste, cigarette butts, motor oil, anti-freeze, runoff from pesticides and fertilizers, paint from brushes and containers rinsed in the gutter and toxic household chemicals.

How Stormwater Pollution Affects Newport Beach Residents

Contaminated urban runoff is an uncontrolled nonpoint source of pollution into local waters, and often contributes to beach closures. Litter, leaves and other debris clog catch basins, causing flooding when it rains.

How Stormwater Pollution Affects Newport Beach Businesses

Stormwater pollution contributes to beach closures, which hurt local businesses, tourism and Newport Beach's image as a desirable place to live and work. It is illegal for businesses without a permit to discharge wastewater or other materials into the storm drain system.

The Answer: Preventing Stormwater Pollution

Everyone in Newport Beach can help prevent stormwater pollution. It is often caused by everyday behavior that you may not realize contributes to the problem. Simple behavior changes are all it takes to prevent stormwater pollution, if we all do our part. Find out how.


The Federal Water Pollution Control Act prohibits the discharge of any pollutant to navigable waters from a point source unless the discharge is authorized by a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. The 1987 passage of the Water Quality Act established NPDES permit requirements for discharges of stormwater. The NPDES permit program controls water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants into waters of the United States.

Industrial facilities and construction sites are regulated by the State Water Resources Control Board, through general stormwater permits. Cities and counties are regulated through permits issued by the Regional Water Quality Control Boards. Since 1990, operators of large storm drain systems such as Newport Beach's have been required to:

  • Develop a stormwater management program designed to prevent harmful pollutants from being dumped or washed by stormwater runoff, into the stormwater system, then discharged into local waterbodies; and
  • Obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.

The NPDES permit programs in California are administered by the State Water Resources Control Board and by nine regional boards that issue NPDES permits and enforce regulations within their respective region.

Newport Beach lies within the jurisdiction of the Santa Ana Region. This regional board issues permits to the Orange County Permittees, which includes the County of Orange, Orange County Flood Control District and incorporated cities of Orange County. Since the program's inception, the County of Orange has served as the principal permittee.


The following documents describe the regulations and programs for water quality in Orange County.

Basin Plans

The document for each region of the State Water Quality Board's jurisdiction, Santa Ana and San Diego, is the Water Quality Control Plan, commonly referred to as the Basin Plan. It is the foundation for the regulatory programs of each regional board. The Basin Plan documents the beneficial uses of the region's ground and surface waters, existing water quality conditions, problems, and goals, and actions by the regional board and others that are necessary to achieve and maintain water quality standards.


Quick Downloads
2011 Model WQMP [PDF]
WQMP Template [MS Word]
Technical Guidance Document [PDF]
Non Priority Projects [MS Word]

In response to permit requirements from the SARWQCB, the County of Orange has prepared a 2011 Model WQMP to assist with project development in North and Central Orange County. Consistent with the 2011 Model WQMP, a Project WQMP may include:

Site design measures
Low Impact Development (LID) Best Management Practices (BMPs)
Participation in sub regional/regional BMPs
Hydromodification BMPs
Use of alternative programs or treatment control BMPs, and
Applicable source control BMPs

This updated 2011 Model WQMP was approved by the SARWQCB on May 19, 2011 and becomes effective on August 17, 2011. To assist with compliance with the SARWQCB permit requirements and to explain aspects of the Model WQMP, a Technical Guidance Document is available for project proponents.

The Orange County Stormwater Program has developed this Non-Priority Project Water Quality Plan (NPP) for new development / significant redevelopment projects that do not meet the criteria for Priority Projects as defined within the County’s Model Water Quality Management Plan (see Model WQMP Sections 1.3 and 1.4) but that qualify as Non-Priority Projects as defined in the Drainage Area Management Plan (DAMP).

Municipal National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permits

The permits of each region outline additional steps for a storm water management program and specify requirements to help protect the beneficial uses of the receiving waters. They require permittees to develop and implement Best Management Practices (BMPs) to control/reduce the discharge of pollutants to waters of the United States to the maximum extent practicable (MEP).

Orange County Stormwater Program Annual Report

The Annual Report is a requirement of the National Pollution Discharge Elimination Systems (NPDES) permit for submittal to the Regional Boards and United States Environmental Protection Agency.

  • Annual Report

    City of Newport Beach Local Implementation Plan

    The City of Newport Beach has developed an LIP, which provides a written account of the activities that the City has undertaken and the City is undertaking to meet the requirements of Third Term Permit and make a meaningful improvement in urban water quality. In developing this LIP, the City has utilized the 2003 DAMP as the foundation for its program development and the LIP, as a result, contains numerous references to it and the two, in effect, act as companion parts of the City's compliance program. The LIP is intended to serve as the basis for city compliance during the five-year life of the Third Term Permit, but is subject to updating and modification as the City determines necessary, or as directed by the Regional Board.

    Below is a copy of the City of Newport Beach's Local Implementation Plan (LIP). To make it easier to view and download, this document has been broken down into fourteen Adobe Acrobat Reader files (.pdf).

    Additional City of Newport Beach Water Quality Documents:

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