It is illegal to allow anything other than rainwater to be discharged to a storm drain.
Wash water should never be discharged to a street, gutter, parking lot, or storm drain. If discharged or disposed of improperly, materials such as soaps, including biodegradable soaps, and insecticides 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.
- Always drain wash water to the sewer. Never let it go to the street, storm drain, or landscape.
- Before you get started, find the sewer clean out or a sink you can use. Or, be prepared to collect the wash water in a holding tank or drum for later disposal to the sewer system at the business’s office or other approved location.
- Keep your equipment and hoses in good repair to eliminate any leaks.
- Filter wash water through a wire mesh strainer to remove solids prior to discharge to the sanitary sewer.
- Throw away solids in the trash. Fur/excess hair or other solids present in the wash water can cause blockages in the sewer system.
- All chemicals and cleaning agents must be securely stored on vehicles.
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.
- Have Safety Data Sheets for all products used.
Where Can You Dispose of Wash Water?
- A one-time discharge permit may be required for disposal to the sanitary sewer.
- Check your local jurisdiction for discharge requirements.
- Facilities in Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Sebastopol, and Cotati should call the Environmental Compliance Section at
- (707) 543-3369 or visit www.srcity.org/envcompliance
- With permission from the sanitary sewer district and the property owner, wash water from mobile pet groomers can be discharged into a:
- Floor, Utility or Mop Sink
- Drain connected to sanitary sewer
How are the Storm Drain and Sanitary Sewer Systems Different?
- Throughout urban communities, 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.
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.