Stormwater Pollution Prevention Tips

Stormwater pollution prevention is vital to the health of our neighborhoods, our parks and our environment. Residents and businesses can help keep our water clean in the following ways:

a. Report Illegal Dumping

- Illegal dumping is a significant source of stormwater pollution and contaminated water can pose a health concern for residents who eat fish caught in the Bay or who swim there. If you see someone pouring paint, motor oil, or any other material into the gutter or storm drain, or illegally dumping items in the creek or on the side of the road, call 510-215-3060 during business hours or call (510) 233-1214 to contact the San Pablo Police during non-business hours. Remember that only rain is allowed down the storm drain.

b. Discourage Littering

– If you see someone littering, remind them that the litter is carried by wind and rain down the drain and enters the creeks and Bay. Not only is litter unsightly, it harms wildlife that live in the creeks and Bay. Litter should be disposed of in a trash container.

c. Follow Car Wash Tips

- Washing your car at home allows pollutants such as grease, dirt, oil, metals, and chemicals from soap and cleansers to flow directly into the stormdrain (and eventually to the creeks and Bay) untreated. Instead, take your car to a car wash where the water is discharged to the sanitary sewer system where it is treated. Other options include washing the car on a permeable surface such as dirt, landscaping, or gravel, or washing the car away from the gutter so the water does not enter.


. Clean Up Spills Properly

- For hazardous waste spills, contact the City at (510) 215-3060 immediately during business hours or (510) 233-1214 to reach San Pablo Police after hours. For regular spills on private property, whenever possible, do not use water to clean up spills. Follow these general guidelines to stop spills at the source and to prevent spills from entering the storm drain.

  • Place absorbent materials like cat litter, cornmeal, sawdust, or other dry materials on and around the spill to keep it from spreading.
  • Sweep up the dry material, place it in a sealed plastic bag, and dispose of it in the garbage.

If Water Must Be Used

  • Use a mop and bucket after absorbing as much as possible with dry absorbents. Dispose of the wash water in a drain that leads to a sanitary sewer, such as a sink. Do not dispose of the wash water in a stormdrain.
  • If the area must be washed with water, sweep the area first and avoid or block off any stormdrains.
  • Contain and collect the wash water with a wet vacuum and discharge it into a sink or sanitary sewer.
Storm Drain Map
For a hard copy of the City of San Pablo's Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Map please contact Amanda Booth at or visit:

13831 San Pablo Avenue
Building #3
San Pablo, CA 94806
e. Volunteer – Volunteer to clean your local creeks or join a workday restoring a natural area. The City hosts an annual Wildcat Creek Cleanup event in October. Check the website or the newsletter for more information. In addition, visit the links below for other volunteer opportunities:

  • Kids for the Bay
  • The Watershed Project
  • f. Implement Responsible Gardening Practices – Maintaining a nice garden is important but by implementing responsible gardening practices, residents can significantly help prevent stormwater pollution. Here are some tips:

    • Minimize the Use of Chemicals by only using pesticides only when non-chemical methods are ineffective. Choose the least toxic material and do not apply chemicals to your garden or lawn in excess, especially before irrigation or an anticipated rain event. View information about pesticide alternatives and for managing specific pests.
    Creek Volunteers.jpg
    • Use Fertilizer Sparingly and do not apply before irrigation or an anticipated rain event. Use compost instead. If you must use fertilizer, give preference to slow-release and organic fertilizers. Fertilizers contain large amounts of nitrogen, which provide food for some pests and can leach into waterways when applied in excess and cause harm to the environment.
    • Do Not Over-Water since it can lead to increased runoff, carrying chemical pollutants to stormdrains into our waterways. Installing a drip irrigation or micro-spray system helps conserve water and decrease runoff.
    • Prevent Soil Erosion from hillsides and flat surfaces by planting grass and other rapid-growth vegetative covers that hold dirt together.
    • Contain Yard Waste by sweeping excess lawn clippings, leaves, and other yard wastes and compost them in a contained space in your yard or dispose of them in the green waste cart. Excess soil should be swept off the pavement and not washed into stormdrains.
    • Store Chemicals in a covered area during a rain event.