Non-point source pollution comes from a number of common residential and commercial activities throughout the City. Storm water (rain) and urban runoff from landscape irrigation, car washing on the street, and parking lot and sidewalke washing, pick up pollutants and carry them into storm drains.
When these pollutants, such as sediment, pet waste, trash, oil, and other auto fluids reach the storm drain, they flow directly to our creeks and ocean untreated, posing a threat to water quality.
Ongoing programs such as creek and ocean water quality monitoring, creek clean-ups, water quality regulation enforcement, and street sweeping, along with larger water quality improvement projects, are the primary methods the Creeks Division utilizes to improve local creek and ocean water quality.
The Creeks Division contracts with an outside vendor to clean creeks on a biweekly basis. Any material that does not belong in the creek, such as trash, furniture, appliances, bicycles, mattresses, and grocery carts, are collected. This garbage is logged, weighed, and then properly disposed of.
While the relationship between garbage in creeks and water quality is unclear, it is apparent that cleaning debris from creeks helps to keep debris off beaches and out of the ocean. However, fecal matter from wild animals, pets, and people is also found in our creeks, and while every attempt is made to remove it in a timely manner, some inevitably finds its way to the ocean, degrading the water quality and posing health risks to human and non-human populations.
Partially funded by the Creeks Division, the Streets Division's Clean Sweep street sweeping program keeps trash and debris out of storm drains and creeks. The debris collected from the streets is considered solid waste and is sent to the landfill. Program records indicate that the sweeper regularly picks up litter, dirt, leaves, trash, yard waste, and construction runoff. This material is tested on a regular basis for heavy metals, petroleum products, and residual pesticides.