Urban runoff is water that becomes polluted when it picks up items such as litter, leaves, pesticides, motor oil, pet waste, etc. that flush into storm drains and are then discharged into the San Francisco Bay.
There are several simple changes we can make in our daily lives to improve and protect our local creeks and the San Francisco Bay:
- Don't pour or wash anything down gutters or storm drains.
- Clean up outdoor spills with a broom, not a hose.
- Use absorbent litter, sawdust or cornmeal as needed.
- Rinse latex paint brushes in the sink, not the gutter.
- Buy "non-toxic" products whenever possible.
- Move parked cars from the street side on street sweeping days.
- Maintain your car regularly and keep it free from leaks.
- Drive less!
- Recycle and dispose of automotive fluids properly.
- Wash your car at a commercial car wash. Even biodegradable soaps are toxic to aquatic organisms. Please do not permit soap to enter the storm drain system.
- Eliminate or reduce your use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. If you must use chemicals, please use them sparingly.
- Never apply chemicals when rain is in the forecast.
- Plant your garden with native plants accustomed to our local climate. Check out EBMUD Conserving & Recycling Plant Book for more information.
- There are many non-toxic alternatives available for pest control in your home and garden. Visit the UC Davis webpage for more information.
- Pick up animal wastes and dispose of them properly.
- Do not over water your yards and gardens. Chlorinated water is toxic to aquatic organisms.
- Keep all work areas clean and pick up litter regularly.
- Contain leaks by using drip pans and splash guards around and under vehicles and process equipment.
- Repair dumpsters that leak and keep areas around dumpsters clean.
- Identify all areas with outdoor equipment and storage of raw or waste materials that are exposed to rainwater and have the potential to be washed to the storm drain system.
- Inspect equipment and vehicles regularly for leaks. Fix the leaks.
- Collect and discharge all wash water to the sanitary sewer system.
- Clean spills with rags, a mop, and absorbents. Never rinse spills to a storm drain.
- Store hazardous materials such as grease, paints, solvents and detergents in appropriately labeled containers.
- Use secondary containment measures for liquids stored outside or inside near a storm drain.
- Establish a clean-up plan for minor and major spills, post it in work area, and have clean-up kits readily available in accessible locations.
- Learn More! Check out the Alameda Countywide Clean Water Program for more information on urban runoff pollution prevention.