The information provided below is intended for property owners or property management companies that own or manage properties with required, permanent structural best management practices, or "structural BMPs.”  If you still have questions about maintaining structural BMPs on your property, contact Environmental Programs at or by phone at 760-839-4079.

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Structural BMPs mitigate storm water impacts by capturing, treating, and reducing urban runoff.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Structural BMP?

Structural BMPs are devices or landscape features that help to prevent pollutants in storm water runoff from leaving a developed property, entering our storm drains, and impacting our local waterways. All types of structural BMPs require regular inspection and maintenance to ensure that they are operating effectively.

Examples of device-type Structural BMPs include drain insert filters, hydrodynamic separator structures, manufactured filtration systems, and underground storage vaults. Landscape feature-type Structural BMPs are vegetated and go by various names, including vegetated swales, bio-swales, bioretention basins, and biofiltration basins. Some proprietary biofiltration systems combine manufactured structures and vegetation into one Structural BMP.

Why do we need Structural BMPs?

Because it’s the law. San Diego Regional Water Board MS4 Permit has required structural BMPs (formerly treatment control BMPs) for certain new and redevelopment projects since 2002. The City’s Storm Water Design Manual for priority development projects includes an overview about inspection & maintenance for specific types of BMPs. Structural BMP information is also available through CASQA.

Land development projects generally alter the natural conditions of the land by removing vegetative cover, compacting soil, and constructing impervious surfaces like streets, sidewalks, parking lots, and buildings. Unlike natural landscapes, impervious surfaces associated with development do not allow natural processes of infiltration, retention, and evapotranspiration of storm water to take place. Impervious surfaces also generate increased amounts of storm water runoff that can carry pollutants such as trash, fertilizers, pesticides, oils, metals, and sediment into our watersheds. Increased runoff volumes, discharge rates, and velocities also adversely impact stream habitat by causing unnatural erosion of creek beds and banks. To reduce the negative impact storm water runoff can have on our local waterways, certain developed properties are required to install and maintain structural BMPs.

Are there BMPs on my property?

If your property was developed or re-developed since 2002, you may have been subject to BMP requirements depending on the applicable criteria in force at the time. Property owners and property managers should be able to locate and identify the required structural BMPs on your property. Structural BMP requirements “run with the land,” so if you have recently purchased a property with structural BMPs, you are responsible for performing the required maintenance. Structural BMPs should not be removed or altered without prior approval from the City.

BMP information should be documented on each development’s grading plans in addition to an approved Water Quality Technical Report (prior to 2013) or Storm Water Quality Management Plan (2013 to present). These documents would have been prepared by a licensed engineer as part of a property’s development approvals.

If you need assistance with identifying and locating your BMPs, please contact Environmental Programs at or by phone at 760-839-4074. Please provide your property address or the Project ID that appears on your maintenance certification form.

Annual BMP Maintenance Certification

The City of Escondido is required to verify that property owners are maintaining existing structural BMPs to the original design specifications. In addition to conducting periodic inspections, the City operates a program to verify operation and maintenance of structural BMPs.

All property owners are responsible for submitting documentation of their BMP maintenance activities annually. Each year, the City distributes BMP Maintenance Certification forms to property owners or property managers. Returning the signed and completed BMP Maintenance Certification Form demonstrates that a property is doing its part to remain in compliance with storm water regulations. The certification forms also provide the City information we are required to report to the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board. If certification forms are not returned in a timely manner, the City may perform a follow-up inspection, or issue correction/enforcement notices or fines. More information on inspecting your property’s BMPs is provided below. 

Maintenance Inspections

Many structural BMPs can easily be inspected for operation and maintenance. The City performs on-site inspections of select sites with structural BMPs as part of the Annual maintenance verification program. 

The following are examples of typical assessments the City would make during an inspection of a storm water structural BMP. This is a general list, so not all of the items apply to all types of BMPs. If you perform your own maintenance, these are simple things to check to tell whether your BMPs are in compliance. Depending on the outcome, and depending on what specific BMPs are installed on your property, you may choose to solicit assistance from a third-party maintenance vendor. 

  1. Check that each BMP is free of damage. Vegetated BMPs should be free of erosion or scouring. Pre-manufactured structural BMPs should appear structurally sound, and filter screens or baskets should be well secured.
  2. Check each BMP for accumulated sediment, trash, and/or debris. If a filter screen or basket is near 50% full, it should be removed, cleared of all contents, cleaned, and reinstalled.
  3. Check that the BMP inlets and outlets are free of obstructions. Most BMPs are designed to receive storm water and discharge it after treatment. Depending on the design of the BMP, obstructions may be caused by sediment, trash, debris, or by excessive vegetation. Inlet obstructions prevent storm water from entering the BMP and being properly treated. Outlet obstructions inhibit discharge of treated storm water, and may lead to flooding.
  4. Check that each BMP is free of standing water and unpleasant odors. Standing water or odors may indicate that a BMP is not draining as designed.
  5. Check that vegetated BMPs maintain sufficient ground cover (such as mulch or plants, per design). Vegetation should be healthy, but not overgrown.
  6. Check that any filter media pouches, booms, cartridges, etc. associated with a BMP are completely secured, intact, and in working condition. Filter media should be replaced according to manufacturer’s specifications.
  7. Check that pre-manufactured structural BMPs follow manufacturer’s recommended operations and maintenance specifications. These may vary by device and manufacturer. 

If a BMP fails any of these assessments during a City inspection, it would likely require maintenance, and the City will issue a Notice of Correction.

When you submit your Annual BMP Maintenance Certification Form, you are certifying that your BMPs have been maintained such that they should attain compliance if subjected to an inspection. 

If you have additional questions about maintaining your BMPs, please contact Environmental Programs at or by phone at 760-839-4074. Please provide your property address or the Project ID that appears on your maintenance certification form.