Please note that the lake will be closed April 7th and April 8th, 2018 from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this might cause and hope to see you out on the water soon.

Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System Permit (MS4)

The current MS4 NPDES Permit Order No. R8-2010-0033, NPDES NO. CAS 618033 went into effect on on July 1, 2010.  It was issued by the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board and outlines the regulations and programs that the City must implement in order to control pollution to the Maximum Extent Practicable (MEP).  The following list highlights requirements, plans and topics of discussion resulting from the MS4 Permit:


Illegal Discharges

Discharges from business and residential activities that enter the streets and storm drain system resulting in pollution at our lake and streams. Some examples of illegal discharges include:

  • Wash water from cleaning or hosing parking lots, streets, sidewalks, driveways, patios, plazas, work yards and outdoor eating or drinking areas. 
  • Discharges that result from the cleaning, repair or maintenance of any type of equipment, machinery, or facility including motor vehicles, cement-related equipment, stucco activities, and portable toilet servicing. 
  • Sewage discharges. 
  • Discharges of wash water from mobile operations such as mobile automobile washing/detailing, steam cleaning, power washing, and carpet cleaning. 
  • Discharges of runoff from material storage areas containing chemicals, fuels, grease, oil, or other hazardous material. 
  • Discharges of pool or fountain water containing residual chlorine, biocides, or other chemicals; discharges of pool or fountain backwash water.
  • Discharges of sediment, pet waste, vegetation clippings, or other landscape or construction related wastes. Discharges of food related wastes (e.g. grease, fish processing, and restaurant kitchen mat and trash bin wash water). 
  • Discharges of oil and other auto fluids and household chemicals.

Best Management Practices (BMPs) have been developed so that activities can be conducted in a manner that will not violate the laws. Tips & Requirements for Residents and Tips & Requirements for Businesses provide a variety of brochures and resources to help you conduct your activities without impacting our environment are available: 

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Allowable Discharges

These are not normally significant sources of pollutants. Activities that produce these discharges may be conducted using Best Management Practices (BMPs) that prevent or reduce pollutants that may flow to streams, channels and the lake. Below is a list of the allowed discharges:

  • Individual residential car washing discharge*
    *Please note that the City discourages traditional residential car washing in driveways.  Better alternatives include taking your vehicle to a commercial carwash where wash water is recycled and contained, using waterless products, using closed-loop reclamation systems and/or using high pressure low water usage systems which do not generate runoff.
  • Lawn watering discharge 
  • Dechlorinated and salt water swimming pool discharge 
  • Uncontaminated pumped ground water discharge 
  •  Rising ground water discharge 
  • Uncontaminated ground water infiltration discharge 
  • Fountain drain discharge 
  • Diverted Stream Flow discharge 
  • Water from crawl space pumps 
  • Footing drain discharge
  • Air conditioning condensation discharge 
  • Flows from riparian habitats and wetland discharge 
  • Water line flushing (BMPs required)

Best Management Practices (BMPs) have been developed so that activities can be conducted in a way that will reduce the impact from the allowed discharge. A variety of brochures and resources are available:

Many of the above brochures are available from Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation District free of charge.

Additional BMP fact sheets for commercial and industrial facilities are available from the California Stormwater Quality Association (CASQA) website.

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Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL)

A TMDL defines how much of a pollutant a waterbody can tolerate and still meet water quality standards.

The Federal Clean Water Act Section 303(d) requires that States identify waters that do not or are not expected to meet water quality standards by using technology-based controls. Once a waterbody has been placed on the 2010 303(d) list of impaired waters, states are required to develop a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) to address each pollutant causing impairment.

Lake Elsinore is currently on the 303(d) list due to the following impariments:

  • Nutrients
  • Organic Enrichment/Low Dissolved Oxygen
  • PCBs (Polychlorinated biphenyls)
  • Sediment Toxicity
  • Unknown Toxicity

Sources of pollutants include:

  • discharges from wastewater treatment facilities;
  • runoff from homes, forested lands, agriculture, and streets or highways;
  • contaminated soils/sediments, legacy contaminants such as DDT and PCBs;
  • on-site septic systems; and
  • deposits from the air.

The responsible agencies and dischargers in the Lake Elsinore/Canyon Lake watershed have formed a Lake Elsinore and Canyon Lake TMDL Task Force (TMDL Task Force). The TMDL Task Force members are working jointly to implement requirements of the TMDLs.

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Basin Plan

California state law (Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act, California Water Code Section 13000 et. seq.) requires the Regional Board to formulate and adopt water quality control plans, or Basin Plans, for all areas within its region. The Basin Plans must include an implementation plan that describes how the water quality standards established in the Basin Plan will be met. TMDLs, with their associated implementation plans, are adopted into the Basin Plans through the Basin Planning process.

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