Since the 1972 Clean Water Act, government officials across the country have been trying to clean up the nation’s waters.
They’ve made some progress by tightening rules on the largest water polluters. But there’s still a lot of pollution coming from smaller sources.
One of those sources is storm water, or the water that travels along the ground after it rains, sweeping up all kinds of debris and pollution.
The California Water Resources Control Board has been trying to combat this problem, but it's run into lots of problems of its own.
The board has set up regulations to clean up pollution coming from small businesses, but it doesn’t know how many businesses it’s trying to regulate or how much pollution those businesses are generating.
Environmentalists say water officials aren't doing their jobs, so they've stepped up and started to take the law into their own hands, filing lawsuits against small businesses that report dirty storm water.
On this week's San Diego Explained, NBC 7 San Diego's Monica Dean and Voice of San Diego's Ry Rivard pore over the problems with trying to regulate storm water pollution.