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Catch Basins


The County of Orange has over 145 miles of underground storm drain facilities. OC Operations & Maintenance is responsible for inspection, maintenance and repair of the storm drain system in the public right-of-way and in drainage easements. This includes clearing blocked drains, removing debris from storm drain structures, and cleaning and repairing damaged drainpipes.

Storm drains are designed to handle normal water flow, but occasionally during heavy rain, flooding will occur. Our goal is to limit the number of flooding incidents by keeping the drains clear with regular maintenance and cleaning.

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, antifreeze, runoff from pesticides and fertilizers, paint from brushes and containers rinsed in the gutter and toxic household chemicals.

To report a storm drain problem, you may submit a service request or contact the OC Operations & Maintenance office at (714) 955-0200.

How Stormwater Pollution Affects...

County Residents

Contaminated urban runoff is an uncontrolled non-point source of pollution into local waters, and may contribute to beach closures. Litter, leaves and other debris can clog catch basins, causing flooding when it rains.

County Businesses

Stormwater pollution may contribute to beach closures, which hurt local businesses, tourism and Orange County'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.

Water Quality Impact

Non-point source pollution can have a serious impact on water quality in Orange County. Pollutants from the storm drain system can harm marine life as well as coastal and wetland habitats. They can also degrade recreation areas such as beaches, harbors and bays.

Stormwater quality management programs have been developed by the Orange County Stormwater Program under National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. The program educates and encourages the public to protect water quality, monitor runoff in the storm drain system, manage NPDES permit process for municipalities, investigate illegal disposals, and maintain storm drains.

The support of Orange County residents, businesses and industries is needed to improve water quality and reduce the threat of stormwater and urban runoff pollution. Proper use and disposal of materials we use everyday will help stop this form of pollution before it reaches the storm drain and the ocean.

Water Pollution Hotline 1-877-89-SPILL

To report water pollution, please submit your request at