Reporting Pollution - PD Dispatch Line - 964-0200
To report an activity / incident involving pollution (oil, wastewater, litter, sediment, or any unknown material) entering the gutter or storm drain inlet, please call dispatch ASAP and be ready to provide your contact information, date of the incident / activity, address, or location of the activity, and a description of the pollution activity you are reporting.
Timely reliable information is necessary to predict the timing and location where dumped materials will re-emerge which provides an opportunity to apprehend the materials (and/or suspects) and thereby minimize the extent to which pollution of the storm drain inlets affects aquatic ecosystems in Pudding Creek, Noyo River, coastal wetlands, and the Pacific Ocean.
Winter is here! Rain is forecast on the North Coast, and we need your help! Pet waste left on sidewalks, streets, yards, and recreational areas can be washed away by rain, making its way into storm drains that lead into our local waterbodies. Pet waste is a major contributor to stormwater pollution. It harms water quality and aquatic wildlife. Please help by cleaning up after your pet and by keeping storm drains free of other debris.
What is Storm Water?
Storm Water is a term used to describe water that originates during precipitation events. The part of the stormwater that cannot soak into the ground becomes "stormwater runoff." The more earth that is covered by impervious surfaces like asphalt, or rooftops, the less stormwater can infiltrate the earth to recharge groundwater and maintain summer stream-flows. Cities with lots of houses, roads, and buildings generate more stormwater runoff than wild lands with abundant soil and vegetation. Stormwater runoff washes oil and grease, litter, cigarette butts, lawn and garden chemicals, dirt, and bacteria from sidewalks and roads and carries it to storm drain inlets throughout the city.
The cleaner and greener the city, the milder and cleaner the runoff. Storm drains under the city are like invisible tributaries that join together into increasingly larger pipes that release stormwater runoff into native waterways including streams, rivers, and, eventually, the ocean. We can improve the quality of stormwater runoff and the health of our rivers and ocean by repairing oil leaks on our cars, walking, running, or biking around town, recycling, minimizing chemicals we put out onto the street, and utilizing trash cans to dispose of litter.
Plastic Snack Wrappings
Plastic snack wrappings are a major ocean pollutant found in stormwater runoff from the mainlands. This plastic is accumulating in giant floating rafts in the ocean. Some forms of plastic may trap or choke animals. As some of this plastic degrades into tiny pieces, fish ingest them as if they were food without providing nutrition.
Storm Water Concerns
Storm Water is of concern for two main issues: one related to the volume and timing of runoff water (flood control and water supplies) and the other related to potential contaminants that the water is carrying, i.e. water pollution.
First flush is the initial surface runoff of a rainstorm. During this phase, water pollution entering storm drains in areas with high proportions of impervious surfaces is typically more concentrated compared to the remainder of the storm. Consequently these high concentrations of urban runoff result in high levels of pollutants discharged from storm sewers to surface waters.
Storm Water Resource Planning
The Coastal Mendocino County Storm Water Resource Plan (SWRP) encompasses three coastal watersheds in Mendocino County, Northern California: Pudding Creek-Frontal Pacific Ocean Watershed, Noyo River Watershed, and Big River Watershed. The purpose of the SWRP is to identify potential projects that utilize storm water as a resource for multi-benefit projects that augment water supply, identify areas of concern, enhance water quality, reduce localized flooding, and create environmental and community benefits within the three coastal watersheds. For more information on the SWRP objective and multi-benefit projects visit our projects page.
Project submittals will be evaluated based on their potential to decrease pollutants entering water bodies, storm water capture, reuse, and regional watershed impacts. Example projects could include trash capture devices, Low Impact Development, streambed or habitat restoration, ground water recharge, etc. You can help in the SWRP process by submitting projects for evaluation in the SWRP, helping us prioritize potential projects and provide feedback on the SWRP! The final 2018 SWRP is now posted.