Commercial and Business General BMPs

Never allow non-stormwater liquids or materials to be transported to a street, gutter, parking lot, or storm drain. If over applied, spilled, or disposed of improperly, materials such as bacteria, sediment, nutrients, organic matter, surfactants, disinfectants, and suspended solids, etc. 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.

General Industry Best Practices

Outside Areas

  • Check and clean outside areas regularly.
  • Use dry cleanup methods (i.e. broom or vacuum). Avoid hosing down or pressure washing.
  • Immediately clean wet or oily spots with rags and absorbent.
  • Process water from a power-washer must be collected. Prior to power washing of any surface, refer to the “Power Washer Guidelines” document and/or your local municipality for requirements and regulatory compliance.

Trash and Recycling Areas

  • Replace damaged or leaking dumpsters by calling your garbage company.
  • Keep dumpster lids closed.


  • Load and unload on a designated paved surface so spilled material can be contained and quickly swept up.
  • Avoid loading or unloading during wet weather.


  • Minimize use of cleaning fluids.
  • Immediately clean up drips or small spills.
  • Pour mop wash water into an inside drain only.

Even products labeled “biodegradable” or “environmentally safe” contain ingredients which are initially toxic to aquatic life, including fish.

Vehicle and Equipment Maintenance

  • Maintain equipment you own and rent regularly to prevent leaks.
  • Washing of vehicles or other equipment must be performed in a wash pad that drains to the sanitary sewer to ensure the collection of any generated wastewater.

Storage and Maintenance Facilities

  • Hazardous materials and waste shall be stored in a manner that will prevent contact with rainwater and run-off.
  • Maintain all hazardous materials in accordance with the Safety Data Sheets (SDS) and all applicable laws and regulations.


  • Minimize the use of fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Check irrigation systems regularly for leaks and overspray.
  • Use drip and bubbler irrigation.
  • Reset irrigation controllers as the seasons change the amount of water needed.

Inform Your Customers

  • Label storm drain inlets with simple messaging such as “No Dumping, Drains to Creek” with a clear picture or symbol.
  • 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.

Are You Ready to Respond to a Spill?

  • Have a written plan.
  • Train employees annually on storm water regulations, spill response, personal safety, and hazardous waste handling and disposal.
  • Have spill cleanup materials onsite and in every vehicle.
  • Have Safety Data Sheets for all products used.

How are the Storm Drain and Sanitary Sewer Systems Different?

The storm drain system transports rainwater to local creeks, rivers, and the ocean. This system was created to prevent flooding within communities and homes.

All water and materials that enter the storm drain system are untreated.

The sanitary sewer is a plumbed system that transports used water from buildings to a wastewater collection and treatment facility, where the water and sewage is treated.

If you see an outdoor drain and are unsure of its use, assume it is a storm drain and do not discharge wash water to it.

Clean creeks are important. They provide vital fish habitat, recreation, and add to the beauty of our city.

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.

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