Sacramento residents walking dog outside

Sacramento Residents - Keep Our Rivers Clean!

As a Sacramento County resident, it’s important to know what
can be done to keep our rivers and creeks clean (pollutant-free).
Approximately 80% of pollutants in our water are caused by
residents! Everyday activities such as driving, watering our
lawn, or even dropping a gum wrapper on the ground
contributes to polluted waterways.

As rain water runs over lawns, driveways, parking lots,
sidewalks and streets, it picks up pollutants such as pet waste
chemicals and litter. Unfortunately, this stormwater runoff runs
into a nearby storm drain where it is carried directly into the
river, without treatment, bringing all the pollutants with it.

The pollutants that end up in our creeks and rivers pose a great
threat to our waters. Let’s all do our part to protect our creeks
and rivers from harmful pollutants!

Small actions can make a big difference.

Learn what you can do to protect our environment and improve water quality in our neighborhoods


Summary About Our watershed

A watershed is an area of land where water travels from a high point (like a mountain) to a low point (like a river or stream). The water moves through the stormdrain system both underground and on the surface. These pathways flow into streams and rivers, which become larger as the water moves downstream, eventually reaching a creek, lake, ocean or in Sacramento, directly to the river.

Sacramento’s Watershed includes every drop of water or precipitation from the tops of our mountains to the river, including rainfall that hits our roofs or a running hose that runs down our driveway—all eventually ending up in the river… untreated… and then out to the ocean. We live, work and play in one big watershed.

It’s our job to take care of it.

Is the Stormdrain System and
Sanitary Sewer System the Same?

The stormdrain system and sanitary sewer system are not the same. The sanitary
sewer collects waste-water from indoor pipes and treats it before the water is
released into the environment. The stormdrain system collects excess water from
streets and parking lots and helps to reduce flooding. The water that flows into
stormdrains is carried into local creeks or rivers, without treatment. This is why it’s
important to keep our streets clean and to avoid certain activities that contribute
to stormwater pollution.

What are the Sources of Stormwater Pollution?

There are several pollutants that can end up in our waterways. This includes trash, dog poop, garden chemicals, and other materials that are found in our streets and roads. When it rains, these materials can flow into a storm drain and empty into a nearby creek or river. Check out the graphic below or download a copy to learn more about common stormwater pollutants and why these sources affect our local waterways:


How Can I Make a Difference at Home?

We can all contribute to healthier creeks and rivers! There are plenty of actions you can take to ensure trash, dog poop, garden chemicals, and other materials are disposed of properly. Check out the Actions for Clean Water below or download a copy. These routines are simple, effective, and protect our waterways!



Illegal dumping is a serious issue

Dumping materials into the storm drain or ditches on your street allows those materials to flow untreated to local creeks, streams and rivers. It’s also illegal!  In Sacramento County and its incorporated cities, it is illegal to knowingly dump or discharge hazardous materials into the storm drain system and the Cities and/or Sacramento can impose fines on violators when they are caught.

To report illegal dumping into storm drains, please call 311 immediately to report the dump site


What types of materials are often dumped?

  • Paint
  • Motor oil
  • Construction and demolition debris
  • Yard trimmings
  • Household garbage
  • Medical waste
  • Tires
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