It is important to remember that the storm drain system is different from the sanitary sewer system.

When rainfall comes into contact with pollutants, the pollutants can be washed into the storm drain system and in turn, into our local waterways. Examples of situations where stormwater runoff could be polluted through exposure to pollutants include:
  • Improper or incomplete clean-up of a release or spill of hazardous or non-hazardous materials or wastes in an outdoor, uncovered, area;
  • Poor housekeeping in outdoor storage areas;
  • Inadequate secondary containment and/or coverage of hazardous or non-hazardous materials or wastes;
  • Leaky dumpsters, or dumpster lids left open;
  • Liquids or powdery materials tracked outdoors by forklifts or other vehicles from indoor processing areas; and
  • Leaky vehicles, equipment, compressors, etc.
Pollutants can also be washed into the storm drain system and local waterways by non-stormwater discharges such as irrigation runoff or in wastewater from hosing down or pressure washing polluted surfaces into the storm drain system.

Common Pollutant Sources

The Sacramento area is fortunate to have a wide variety of business types and industries. Many of these businesses handle and generate materials and wastes that can result in conditions at their facilities or worksites that can be harmful to local waterways.

Greasy mop water discharged by restaurant employees to the storm drain and food waste leaking from a dumpster are examples of a common prohibited non-stormwater discharge and an unmitigated stormwater pollution source, respectively, from restaurants.

Automotive fluids, such as antifreeze and motor oil are common pollutants of concern at auto repair facilities. These pollutants may be accidentally or intentionally dumped or washed into the storm drain system by careless or uninformed employees. Pollutants may also be washed into the storm drain system when rainwater comes into contact with outdoor spills, oily parts, or other contaminated surfaces.

Other common pollutants include:
  • Concrete and painting-related wastewater;
  • Commercial vehicle washing wastewater;
  • Pressure washing and surface cleaning wastewater;
  • Sediment (dirt, sand, etc.);
  • Food waste and/or grease; and
  • Hazardous or non-hazardous materials and wastes that are leaked, spilled or dumped.
Learn how you can protect our water. Please call (916) 808-4H2O (4426) for information on how your business can be in compliance.

Become a Sacramento Area Sustainable Business

Is your business looking for opportunities to be recognized for using sustainable practices? The Sacramento Business Environmental Resource Center offers a program that certifies businesses for implementing green practices that improve efficiency, energy and water conservation, and waste reduction. Learn how you can become a Sacramento Area Sustainable Business Partner
Learn more about what your industry can do:


Carpet Cleaners



Pressure Washers


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