Landscapers use many types of products that contain pollutants, such as fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides. If over applied, spilled or disposed of improperly these contaminants can pollute our local creeks.
The most important thing to know about sewers and storm drains is that they are two different systems. When water flows off your property, it flows directly into the storm water drainage system. The storm water drainage system consists of street gutters, inlets, catch basins, and ditches. Many people believe that storm water gets “cleaned” but it does not. Rather, it flows directly into our creeks, rivers, lakes, and the ocean without any treatment at all. Only the water that goes down a sink, toilet, or another inside drain flows to the wastewater treatment plant. Toxic material cannot be discharged to either system.
As a valued member of the local business community, we know that you are invested in protecting the quality of life that your customers, members of the community, and visitors enjoy.
Fertilizers, Herbicides, and Pesticide Use
- Use natural non-toxic alternatives whenever possible.
- If you must use traditional products, spot apply only.
- Avoid application on hard surfaces, such as curbs and driveways.
- Check the weather and don’t spray if rain or high wind is forecasted.
- Stay away from creeks, ponds, and ditches as a rule. Spraying within 100 feet of these features requires a permit from the State.
- These chemicals must be disposed of as hazardous waste. Call (707) 565-DESK (3375) for information and locations.
- Fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides are often carried into the storm drain system by sprinkler runoff.
- Don’t water the pavement. Redirect irrigation water so it is only watering the landscape.
- Fix leaks. Irrigation systems that leak, overspray, or gush water are wasting water and money.
- Use drip and bubbler irrigation that apply water to the plant root zones at the rate it can soak in.
- Low flow sprinkler heads can also minimize overspray and evaporation and reduce runoff.
Yard Waste and Landscaping Materials
- Dispose of grass clippings, leaves, branches, sticks, or other yard waste by composting it or putting it in a yard waste bin.
- Never put yard waste in the storm drain system.
- Leaves are yard waste too. They must be collected and hauled away or be put in the yard waste bin. Keep them out of the gutter and catch basins.
- Protect bare soil. Use mulch or other erosion control measures to prevent soil from washing away.
- Protect stockpiles from rain and runoff. Check the weather, keep materials out of the gutter, cover and secure with tarps or plastic, and only have delivered what will be used right away.
- Protect chemicals from rain and wind. Store under a roof or under a cover. Secure drum and container lids.
- Keep a copy of Material Safety Data Sheets with you for any product you use.
Mulch conserves water, enhances the growth of plants and the appearance of the landscape. It can also simplify your operations – thereby lowering your costs – by suppressing annual weed growth and reducing the need for trimming around trees and poles. Compost and mulch can increase permeability and water-holding capacity, thereby reducing the need for irrigation and lowering water bills. It can enhance soil structure. Encourage favorable soil microbial activity and worms, and add nutrients to the soil – reducing any need for fertilizer.
- Train all new employees on storm water regulations, spill response, personal safety, and hazardous waste handling and disposal.
- Annually retrain employees in all of these topics.
- Keep training records up to date.
- Have spill cleanup materials available and train employees when to report a spill.
Santa Rosa Contact Information
- To report a spill call (707) 543-3800.
- To report a hazardous material spill, such as oil or gasoline products call 911 or (707) 528-5151.
- To get information on proper disposal of materials call (707) 565-DESK (3375), or go to www.recyclenow.org
- For pesticide application information and permits call (707) 565-2371.
- To get information regarding dumpster and waste hauling call (707) 568-1478.
- For help implementing these measures or if you have questions about storm water, call (707) 543-4200.
Releasing pollutants directly into the storm drain system or a waterway violates the City of Santa Rosa’s Storm Water and Sanitary Sewer Use Ordinances.