SANTA CLARA RIVER WATER QUALITY

It’s Your Duty to Bag Dog Doody

Prevent River Poo-lution and Clean Up Pet Waste

We all love taking our pets to the City’s trails, open space areas and dog parks. Did you know dog waste left on the ground contains harmful bacteria that can wash to the City’s storm drains and into the Santa Clara River, creating health and environmental hazards for our community? Gross!

Help prevent water poo-lution and follow these steps to ensure you Do Your Doody!

  • Pick-up after your pet using a pet-waste bag. Residents can get a bag from public pet-waste bag stations throughout City parks and paseos.
  • Dispose of pet-waste in the regular trash container, and not the green waste or recycling bins, or the storm drains.
  • Do not wash pet-waste down with a hose and into the storm drain.

Stormwater

When it rains, some of the rainwater soaks into the ground, and part of it flows over the ground and directly into creeks, the Santa Clara River, and the Pacific Ocean. This water that runs off into the river is called runoff or stormwater runoff.

Sometimes this stormwater runoff gets polluted. Stormwater pollution can be divided into three categories:

  1. Natural – organic material such as leaves, grass clippings, and sediment
  2. Chemical – such as detergents, coolant, oil, grease, fertilizer, and paint
  3. Litter – such as plastic bags and cigarette butts
  4. All of these pollutants are related to our own household, community behaviors, and the behaviors of business and industry. We all have a role to play to prevent stormwater pollution. Sometimes the pollution is something you can see, like trash floating on top of the water. Other times you cannot see the pollution at all, like when motor oil from a car washes into a nearby creek. For years, various government agencies have been working with industrial and commercial sites to ensure pollutants coming from their locations are kept to a minimum.
  5. Polluted runoff is now one of the leading causes of water pollution in the United States. So, who is to blame? Who is making the water that we drink and swim polluted? We all are… take a look.

Stormwater Video Series

                                 

Litter

Do you ever see people throw trash out of cars or just throw it on the ground while walking? Litter on the street washes into the gutters in the streets, goes through the storm drains, and then ends up in our Santa Clara River and Pacific Ocean. Common trash such as plastic bags, wrappers, six-pack rings, bottles, and cigarette butts get washed down the storm drain and can choke, suffocate, or disable aquatic life, like ducks, fish, turtles, and birds. That tiny cigarette butt can take 25 years to break down! It looks disgusting and can harm drinking water. So, do not litter. Take pride in your community.

Lawn and Yard Care

Some people use fertilizer on lawns to help them grow. When people use more fertilizer than their lawn needs, or if they fertilize just before it rains, a lot of that fertilizer ends up in stormwater runoff and not on the lawn. You know what happens next… down the storm drain and into the river.

Fertilizer helps plant life grow, but when it gets in water, it helps algae grow. Algae blooms can cause major problems in waterways because they use up oxygen needed to support aquatic life. What can people do who want to fertilize their lawn? Only use as much fertilizer as the lawn needs and try not to fertilize before it rains. Please monitor your watering systems so you don’t over water your landscaping. Another thing to think about is the grass clippings and yard trimmings left after people mow the lawn and trim the bushes. Putting grass clippings, leaves, and yard debris in the street or storm drain can cause problems for you and your water. Storm drains can clog, streets can flood, and water can become polluted. To avoid this, use clippings as fertilizer, use a mulching lawn mower, compost leaves and clippings, or put them in the greenwaste bin for collection day.

Household Hazardous Waste Products

Common household products like cleaning solutions, insecticides, pesticides, paint, solvents, used motor oil and other auto fluids can poison aquatic life and turn entire bodies of water into polluted waters if they reach the storm drain. Animals and people can become sick or die from eating poisoned fish and shellfish or drinking polluted water.

Buy and use only the amount of household products you are going to need. If you have to, you can dispose of excess or unused portions as household hazardous waste (HHW) at designated collection centers or you may call the City for a special collection of these products. Always follow the directions on the labels and never put any of these products down the storm drain or in the trash.

So, you can see that many causes of stormwater pollution are activities that people do everyday. Many people do not even know that what they do is polluting their water.

What can you do to help?


So now that you know more about what polluted runoff is, where it comes from, and how it affects you, what can you do about it? You make choices everyday in your home, at school, at work, and with your money that can affect storm water pollution.

Many times people pollute water and don’t know they are doing it. Now that you have the facts about polluted runoff, teach other people about it.

Never dump anything down the street or into the storm drain! It is meant only for rain water.

Don’t litter! And tell your friends and neighbors not to litter, too!

Clean up after your pet! Bring bags along when you walk your dog and encourage others to do the same.

Don’t leave grass clippings and leaves in the street when you do yard work. Use them for fertilizer, compost them, or dispose of them in your green waste bin.

Never clean paint brushes or rinse paint containers into a street, gutter, or storm drain. Clean water-based paint tools in a sink or dispose of oil-based paint products as household hazardous waste.

Wash out concrete mixers, tools, and equipment only in areas where the water does not go into the street, gutter, or storm drain.

Use water wisely, and encourage others to do the same. You can collect water from downspouts in rain barrels. This will reduce runoff, as well as the size of the water bill!
What can I do if I see someone dumping something into the gutter or catch basin? Who can I call if I see something in the gutter and I don’t know what it is?

To report illegal dumping and discharges to the storm drain system, call the City’s Stormwater Hotline immediately at (661) 222-7222.

West Nile Virus

Protect yourself and your family. Important facts and safety tips about West Nile Virus may be found at the LA County’s Vector Control District.