The City Council on Tuesday gave preliminary approval to an ordinance that would increase the city's power to prevent waste dumping and punish the dumpers.
But council members were concerned that the ordinance may create an unnecessary burden on local businesses.
"I don't want to see business owners required to obtain multiple permits and be subject to multiple inspections for the same thing," Councilman Greg Smith said.
The ordinance is required by the federal Clean Water Act to help reduce pollution caused by the discharge of waste into storm drains. The federal government wants cities to crack down on businesses that illegally dump waste materials into storm drains.
The Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board has subsequently issued waste discharge regulations for all Orange County cities.
But the tightening of hazardous waste regulations could require business owners to obtain permits from city, county and state officials, according to Smith.
The City Council approved a first reading of the ordinance, which would require a city permit for "allowable" discharges into storm drains. The council also called for a report from the Public Works Department on the effect of the ordinance on business owners.
Smith said businesses that generate hazardous waste are already required to comply with state and county regulations.
"It would seem like a redundancy to have businesses subjected to city permits and inspections," Smith said.