When pollutants and runoff are not managed properly they can cause harm to the environment, including our waterways and beaches. For example, when motor oil, antifreeze, paint, pesticides, or detergents are dumped or allowed to reach our streets, these chemicals are carried by rain to nearby storm drain inlets. These inlets are connected to the storm drain system, which was designed to carry only rainwater. The storm drain system is separate from the sanitary sewer and does not flow to the treatment plant. Instead, storm drains flow directly to the nearest body of water without receiving any type of treatment. Thus, pollutants can easily reach our creeks, the San Lorenzo River, and Monterey Bay if we are not careful.
In addition, runoff from our properties due to impervious surfaces can cause erosion and undercutting of downstream waterways. Residents can take measures to slow down and/or reduce runoff rates and volumne.
Pollution is often easily prevented with a little extra effort. The City of Santa Cruz Pollution Prevention Tips for Residents will help you to reduce storm water pollution from your everyday activities. If you have any questions or would like one of our brochures, please call the City's Environmental Projects Analyst at 831-420-5131.
Please click on one or all of the following topics to find out what you can do to reduce water pollution from your household activities!
- Monterey Bay Begins on Your Street (PDF)
- Monterey Bay Begins on Your Street-Spanish (PDF)
- Garden, Pool, and Spa Maintenance (PDF)
- Home Maintenance, Painting, and Repair (PDF)
- Vehicle Repair and Washing (PDF)
For practical and eco-friendly ways to protect your property and the environment from the effects of storm water runoff, please click on the link below for the brochure "Slow it. Spread it. Sink it! A Homeowner's Guide to Greening Stormwater Runoff" which was published by the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County.
If you would like a copy of this brochure, please call Suzanne Healy, Environmental Projects Analyst, at 831-420-5131, or Angie Stuart, Resource Conservation District, at 831-464-2950 x22.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Botanic Garden produced an on-line video, "Reduce Runoff: Slow It Down, Spread It Out, Soak It In," that highlights green techniques such as rain gardens, green roofs and rain barrels to help manage stormwater runoff.
The film showcases green techniques that are being used in urban areas to reduce the effects of stormwater runoff on the quality of downstream receiving waters. The goal is to mimic the natural way water moves through an area before development by using design techniques that infiltrate, evaporate, and reuse runoff close to its source.
View this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huO_NRn34GI
Rain Barrel Program
Conserve water and protect water quality by collecting and reusing rainwater!
The City Water Department is now offering subsidized rain barrels to residents and businesses in the service area. The 50 gallon “Ivy” rain barrels are $50 each and people can purchase more than one by coming in to the Water Department’s Water Conservation office to purchase. The City will deliver rain barrels on a weekly basis, and your rain barrel will arrive at your home or business ready to be installed!
Top 5 Reasons to Harvest Rainwater!
Protect our rivers and streams from runoff pollution
Divert water from the municipal storm drain system
Conserve this vital natural resource and reduce your water bills
Use the rain water to grow healthy and lush plants
Control moisture levels around the foundation of your home
Please call the Water Conservation office at 831-420-5230 for more information or check their web page at: www.rainbarrelprogram.org/santa-cruz.
For more information please contact Suzanne Healy, City of Santa Cruz, Department of Public Works, 420-5131.