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National Pollution Discharge Elimination System

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Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Program

The federal Clean Water Act requires states and municipalities to implement the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program. In California the program is overseen by the California Water Quality Control Board and locally enforced by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board. The goal of the NPDES program is to reduce the amount of pollutants that flow into local water ways. The program monitors the discharges to the storm drain system through all point and non-point sources. A point source is any pipe or conveyance system which allows non-storm water and storm water discharges to flow into the storm drain system. A non-point source would be urban runoff, or storm water that flows off of urban areas and collects pollutants as it flows. Everything that enters the storm drain system flows directly into our local water ways. This untreated water contributes to beach closures, human illness and has been shown to be detrimental to marine and aquatic life. (Click here to see presentation)

The City of Torrance's storm drain system is a network of pipes, ditches, gutters, sumps and drains which were built to aid in flood prevention by the storm water through the network and ultimately discharging it to the ocean or other local water ways. The City of Torrance is mandated by the NPDES program to inspect commercial and industrial facilities to make sure that they follow Best Management Practices to prevent pollutants from being carried into the storm drain system during a rain storm or from non-storm water leaving their property. Most large commercial or industrial facilities are required to obtain an Individual NPDES permit depending upon the facilities Standard Industrial Classification Code (SIC Code). Other facilities can apply to be covered under the City of Torrance's Permit by sending in an Notice of Intent (NOI). If you need help in determining your facilities SIC Code or filing an NOI you may contact the City of Torrance's Community Risk Reduction Office.

Commercial and industrial facilities are required to be inspected twice during a five year period. The inspection consists of an evaluation of the facilities implementation of their Best Management Practices to reduce the amount of pollutants generated by a facility and to reduce the amount of pollutants which may be washed off of a facility with storm events or regular cleaning. You may look for BMP's on the California Storm Water Quality Association's BMP Handbook or the International Stormwater BMP Database. The City of Torrance has a BMP Checklist of applicable BMP's for facilities which the city is required to inspect.


Please click on the links below to see the BMP's associated with that category.

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