Apartment Complexes

It is illegal to allow anything other than rain water to be discharged to a storm drain.

Wash water, irrigation water, and leaks from vehicles or equipment should never be allowed to be transported into a street, gutter, parking lot, or storm drain. If discharged or disposed of improperly, materials such as solvents, dirt, and soapy water can be harmful to water quality and creek habitats.

Individuals and businesses that improperly handle and dispose of non-stormwater materials down the storm drain are both subject to civil and criminal prosecution.

Cleaning products labeled “nontoxic” and “biodegradable” can still harm wildlife if they enter the storm drain system. These products are prohibited discharges to the storm drain system.

Best Practices:

Property Maintenance

  • Inspect daily and pick up all debris and trash from dumpster areas.
  • Store cleaning chemicals inside. Use safer alternative products when possible.
  • Construction materials such as concrete, dry wall, dirt, and paint need to be stored under a waterproof cover.
  • Drain carpet cleaning and mop waste water to an inside drain.

Fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides

  • Must be disposed of as hazardous waste. Call (707) 565-DESK (3375) for more information and locations.
  • Check the weather and don’t spray if rain or high wind is forecasted.
  • Use natural non-toxic alternatives whenever possible.
  • If you must use traditional products, spot apply only.
  • Avoid application on hard surfaces, such as curbs and driveways.
  • Stay away from creeks, ponds, and ditches as a rule. Spraying within 100 feet of these features requires a permit from the State.


  • Avoid overspray and over irrigation.
  • Fix leaks.
  • Use drip and bubbler irrigation.
  • Use low flow sprinkler heads to minimize overspray, evaporation, and runoff.

Yard Waste and Landscaping Materials

  • Keep material and debris out of the gutter and catch basins.
  • Protect bare soil.
  • Cover stockpiles and store chemicals away from rain and runoff.
  • Dispose of grass clippings, leaves, branches, sticks, or other yard waste by composting it or putting it in a yard waste bin.

Parking Areas

  • Frequently inspect parking lot areas and clean up spills or loose material immediately.
  • Immediately clean up wet or oily spots with rags and absorbent or a designated mop.

Clean Up

  • Use rags or an absorbent material, like kitty litter or sweep absorbent, to remove any oil, grease, or other petroleum products leaked or spilled. These must be disposed of as hazardous waste. Call (707) 565-DESK (3375) for more information and locations.
  • Sweep absorbents with a stiff broom using enough absorbent until mix is dry in appearance.
  • Cover and protect unused, materials.
  • Use dry cleanup methods (i.e. broom or vacuum). Avoid hosing down or pressure washing areas.

Swimming Pools, Hot Tubs, and Spas

  • Never empty swimming pool water and chemicals to the storm drain. They must be drained to the sanitary sewer.
  • When cleaning pool filters, all collected materials and debris must go into the garbage.

Inform Your Tenants

  • Label storm drain inlets with simple messaging such as “No Dumping, Drains to Creek” with a clear picture or symbol.
  • All water and material that enter the storm drain system is untreated.
  • Post signs informing people that dumping waste on your property is illegal.
  • Anything dumped at your site becomes your responsibility; make sure everything is disposed of properly to avoid violations.


  • For proper disposal questions on hazardous materials and recycling call the Eco-Desk at (707) 565-DESK (3375), or visit www.recyclenow.org
  • To get information on toxics disposal specifically call (707) 795-2025.
  • Russian River-Friendly Landscape Guidelines webpage at www.rrwatershed.org/programs/RRFLG
  • Our Water Our World webpage has information on non-toxic methods of controlling pests at www.ourwaterourworld.org

Report Spills Here

Cloverdale: (707) 894-2150
Cotati: (707) 665-3605
Healdsburg: (707) 431-7000
Rohnert Park: (707) 588-3300
Santa Rosa: (707) 543-3800,
After Hours: (707) 543-3805
Sebastopol: (707) 823-5331,
After Hours: (707) 829-4400
Ukiah: (707) 463-6288
Unincorporated County of Sonoma: (707) 565-1900
Unincorporated Mendocino County: (707) 234-6679
Windsor: (707) 838-1006,
After Hours: (707) 838-1000

Releasing pollutants into the storm drain system or a waterway is prohibited by local ordinance, state, and federal law.

Have you seen this in your neighborhood?