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

Irrigation water from nurseries, runoff from stockpiles, leaks from vehicles or equipment, and spilled materials should never be allowed to be transported into a street, gutter, parking lot, or storm drain. If discharged or disposed of improperly, many materials found at nurseries such as sediment, herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers 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.

Best Practices:

Keep Your Property Clean

  • Clean spills immediately and dispose of material properly. Only rain down the storm drain.
  • Use dry cleanup methods (i.e. broom or vacuum). Avoid hosing down or pressure washing work areas.
  • If a pressure washer is used, ensure that used water is self-contained in the unit and not allowed to discharge into the street or storm drain.

Operating Your Business

  • Reject leaking or damaged bags or containers from suppliers.
  • Maintain equipment you own and rent regularly to prevent leaks.
  • If you clean equipment, all wash water must go to the sanitary sewer and if motorized, through an oil/water filter.
  • Store loose materials inside or under a cover, so rain and wind don’t carry them to the storm drain.

Watering Plants

  • Minimize the use of fertilizers and pesticides. Apply directly on the soil or in the pot.
  • Prevent over watering. Water plants, not the ground.
  • Use a hose equipped with a hose-end shutoff nozzle or valve.
  • Check irrigation systems regularly for leaks and overspray.
  • Reset irrigation controllers as the seasons change the amount of water needed.

Inform Your Customers

  • Label storm drain inlets with “No Dumping, Drains to Creek” decals.
  • 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.
  • Have Safety Data Sheets for all products used.

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.

Have you seen this in your neighborhood?