Protecting Our Water
“Storm drains,” those grates in the street that most people call the "gutter," flow directly to creeks, wetlands and the Bay. They do not connect to the "sewer" or water treatment plant, like many people believe. Storm drains channel rain (or “storm water”) away from our houses and into the surrounding waterways to protect us from flooding.
When stormwater washes off our roofs, streets, driveways and gardens, it carries the dirt and pollutants from these surfaces into the storm drains and then into creeks, wetlands and eventually, the Bay. The short video above explains this concept.
Our local waterscapes are one of the reasons why living in Alameda County is so special. Keeping our water free from pollution is key to maintaining the beauty of our water and helping the plants, birds, fish and insects that live there to thrive.
The Clean Water Program is here to help monitor pollutants, ensure compliance with the Federal Clean Water Act, and to inspire our neighbors to do the most they can to protect this wonderful place we call home.
What You Can Do
There are two main sources of water pollution related to our storm drain system:
1. Direct, intentional dumping into storm drains.
2. “Runoff” or unintentional pollution caused by rainwater and household maintenance practices that wash pollutants from surfaces into the storm drain system.
Here’s how you can help:
- Never dump anything, even leaves or paper, into a storm drain. Many people don't realize that it is illegal to put anything into the storm drain.
- Use less toxic products in the yard and don’t overwater. More about easy pollution prevention in yards and gardens.
- Properly maintain your car. More about car care.
- Maintain your home without causing pollution. More about pollution prevention in and around your home.
- Prevent litter.
- Volunteer in your community.
Resources for Download (PDF format)