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Stormwater Resources for Residences

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Whatever goes down a storm drain flows directly - without treatment - into our local creeks and eventually into the ocean. Stormwater pollution prevention is important to the health of our neighborhoods, community and environment. You can help keeping our water clean in the following ways:

Report Illegal Dumping

Illegal dumping is a significant source of stormwater pollution and contaminated water can pose a health concern for residents. If you see someone pouring paint or other materials into the gutter or storm drain, or illegally dumping debris into the creek or on the side of the road, call 408-615-3080 during business hours or 408-615-5580 after hours to contact the City of Santa Clara Police Department. Remember that only rain is allowed down the storm drain.

Discourage Littering

If you see someone littering, remind them that not only is litter unsightly, it can harm wildlife that live in the creeks and bay. Litter should be disposed of properly in a trash bin. Santa Clara City Council adopted ordinances that prohibit the distribution of single-use plastic bags and polystyrene food service containers.

Follow Car Wash Tips

Washing your car at home can allow pollutants (such as grease, dirt, oil, metals and chemicals) to discharge directly onto the street gutter and storm drain untreated. Instead, take your car to a commercial car wash facility where the water is recycled or discharged to the sanitary sewer system where it is treated. Other options include washing the car on a permeable surface such as a lawn or gravel area.

Clean Up Spills Properly

For hazardous waste spills, contact the Department of Public Works at 408-615-3080 immediately during business hours or 408-615-5580 to reach the Police Department after hours. For regular spills on private property, whenever possible, do no use water to hose down the spills. Follow these general guidelines to stop spills at the sources and prevent it from entering the storm drain:

  • Place absorbent materials (such as kitty litter, cornmeal, sawdust or other dry materials) on and around the spills to keep it from spreading.
  • Sweep up the dry material, place it in a sealed plastic bag and dispose of it in the garbage bin.

If water must be used:

  • Use a mop and bucket after absorbing the liquid with dry absorbents. Dispose of the wash water in a drain that leads to a sanitary sewer (such as a sink). Do not dispose of the wash water in a stormdrain.
  • If the area must be washed with water, sweep the area first and avoid or block off any stormdrains.
  • Contain and collect the wash water with a wet vacuum and discharge it into a sink or sanitary sewer.


Volunteer to clean your local creeks, adopt-a-spot, or join a workday group restoring a natural area. Contact the Department of Public Works at 408-615-3080 for volunteering opportunities.

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